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Authorised Translation, 



1870—1871. * 





Translated from the German by 


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General Map of the most impor^nt march^ pf the German Armies 

antil tiie armistice . .• 1 

Map of the strategical formation at the end of July 15 

Map 9§ the Fight at Weissenburg and of the Battle of Woerth ... 53 

Map of the Fight at Saarbriicken 71 

Map of the Battle of Courcelles 93 

General Map of the movements on the 15th und 16th of August. Marches 

to the battle-fields of Vionville and Gravelotte 99 

Map of the Battle of Gravelotte. I. Advance of the German Armies . 119 

Map of the Battle of Gravelotte. 11. After the decision 133 

Map of the Battle of Sedan. I. Advance of the Germans and com- 
mencement of the engagement 165 

Map of the Battle of Sedan. 11. Moment of the Emperor's surrender . 173 

Map of the Investment of Metz on the 3rd of September 196 

Map of the Battle of Noisseville 205 

Map of the Siege of Strasburg . 225 

Map I of Pads. General map 257 

Map II of Paris. South-west front 315 

Map III of Paris. East front 307 

Map IV of Paris. North front 297 

Map of the Operations of the Loire Army 323« 

Map of the Operations of the Northern Army 351 

Map of the south-eastern theatre of war 367 

Map of the Siege of Belfort " 381 



Introduction 7-14 


The strategical disposition 15—51 

"War declared against Prussia p. 15. — Order of battle of the French Army p. 88. — 
Order of battle of the German Armies p. 88. —Small fights at the end of July p. 49. 


The concentrated offensive movement of the German Armies in the he- 
ginning of August 1870 62 — 78 

The fight at Weissenburg on the 4th of August p. 64. — The battle of Woerth on 
the 6th of August p. 68. — The fight at BaarbrtLoken (Bpeiobern) on the 6tb of 
August p. 71. 


The investment of Strasburg and the first battle near Metz (Courcelles) 79 — 98 

The retreat of the French corps p. 79. — The advance of the German Armies 
p. 86. — The investment of Strasburg p. 87. — The battle of Courcelles (fiomy) 
on the 14th of August p. 92. 


The battle of Vionville (Mars la Tour) on the 16th of August . . 99—117 

The battle of Gravelotte on the 18th of August 118—142 


The capitulation of Sedan 143—177 

Mao Mabon*s undertaking upon Mets p^ 147. — The fight at Busancy on the 27th of 
August p. 160. — The fight at Nouart on the 89th of August p. iM- — The 
engagement at Beaumont on the SOth of August p. 156. — The battle of Sedan on 
the 1st and 8nd (^ September p. 1S6. 


The military situation of France after the catastrophe of Sedan 181 — 195 



The investment of Metz 196—224 

Battle of Noisneville on the 8l8t of August and the 1st of September p. 204. — 
Attacks upon Kummer*8 Diyisipn on the 2nd and 7th of October p. 222. 


Siege operations 225 — 256 

The conquest of the fortress of Strasbnrg p. 226, of Sohlettstadt p. 289. of Keu- 
Breisach and Fort Mortier p. 240^ of Pfalzburg p. 242 . of Thionville p. 244. 
of Montm^dy p. 246^ of Longwy p. 248, of M^zidres p. 248, of Bocroy p. 249, 
of Toul p. 250, of Soissons p. 261, of Verdun p. 268. of La Fdre p. 264, of Pironne 
p. 266. 


The Siege of Paris 257—321 

The fortifications of Paris p. 269. — The investment in the month of September 
p. 274. — Order of battle of tiie Parisian army of defence p. 278. — Small fights 
during the inyestmeut of Paris p. 286. — The sortie fights in October p. 290. — 
The sortie fights in November p. 300. — The sortie* fights in December p. 806. — 
The combat round Brie and Champiguy p. 306. — Sortie ou the 21st of December 
p. 309. — The beginning of the artillery attack. Bouibardment of Mont Avron 
p. 310. — The bombardment p. 312. — Sortie on the 19th of January p. 817. — - 
The armistice negotiations p. 820. 


The Attempts for the relief of Paris 322—366 

I. The operations of the Loire Army 323—351 

Occupation of Orleans by General von der Tann p. 326. — Orleans is re-taken by 
the French p. 826. — Gambetta's organisations in November 1870 p. 327. — The 
Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Sohwerin*s operations from the 9th of November to 
the Ist of December p. 330. — Encounter of the French Loire army with Prince 
Frederick Charles's army p. 382. — Fights at Ladon, Maizidres and Bois eommun 
on the 24th of November p. 334. — Engagement at Beaune la Bolande on the 28th 
of November p. 836. — Battle of Orleans on the 2nd to the 4th of December 
p. 337. — Pursuit and observation of the divided French army p. 341. — Advance 
upon Le Mans p. 344. — The crisis at Le Mans p. 348. 


H. The operations of the Northern Army 351 — 366 

Battle of Amiens on the 27th of November p. 858. — Advance upon Bouen p. 866. — 
General Faidherbe's offensive p. 367. — Battle on the Hallue on the 28rd of De- 
cember p. 359. — Combats at Bapaume on the 2nd and 8rd of January p. 862. — 
Battle of St. Quentin on the 19th of January p. 864. — 


The operations of the South-Eastern Army and the fall of Belfort 367 — 400 

General von Werder's advance in October p. 368. — Fight on the Oigoon p. 371. — 
March upon Gray p. 372. — Occupation of Dijon p. 374. — General von Werder's 
advance upon Auxonne and Dijon in November p. 376. — The fight at Nuits 
p. 378. — The investment and bombardment df the fortress of Belfort p. 381. — 
Bourbaki*8 approach p. 385. — The battle of Belfort on the 16th, 16th and 17th of 
January p. 388. — Manteuffers arrival and Bourbaki's retveat into Switzerland 
p. 898. — The fall of Belfort p. 399. 

Conclusion. The conventions of Versailles and Belfort . . . 401 — 409 

Calender of the campaign , . 410 — 414 

Index 415—420 





The great war of 1870 and 1871 was carried on between two 
nations whose warlike renown was equal whilst it stood. far aboTe 
that of any other nation. This war in which prond France bowed her 
head to the German conqueror, in all its principal phases offer, 
examples of the art of war which indicate a new epoch, and in com* 
plete variety give new laws to the generals for new and hitherto 
unheard of problems. 

It is true that Germany is not indebted to her arms alone for 
victory, nor solely to the genius of her generals and the ability of 
her officers and soldiers. These grounds of victory which are at once 
apparent to the eye of the observer, are only the Evidences and effects 
of higher laws , in the fulfilment of which nations rise and fall in the 
ocean of struggling humanity. Moral force decided this conflict for 
Germany. Victory resulted from the application of the strength of a 
whole nation, which rose superior to its foe in earnest morality 
and high intolligence , and burst the narrow limits of the false and 
obsolete statesmanship of its enemies both abroad and at home, as 
a giant breaks the chains with which dwarfs encompassed him whilst 
he slept. 

Yet marvels enough are to be found in glancing at the external 
phases of this development of noblest powers, and in following the 
victorious advance of the German army upon the enemy's territory. 

Having the same object of operations in view as in earlier wars 
with France, namely the complete overthrow of the enemy in his 
capital Paris, German generalship has accomplished feats in this war, 


with forces cemented in the same manner as formerly, which have 
never been approximately reached in any previous war, both as re- 
gards the mass of the troops and their provisioning, as well as in their 
employment in the greatest combined operations. The capture of the 
whole army which France had formed in the beginning of the campaign 
for the invasion of Germany, together with the reserves called out after 
the first great defeats, is a wonderful fact, unparalleled in the history 
of wars. The single results also, each considered separately, the 
investment and conquest of the Fortress of Paris, a city within 
whose walls were half a million of men bearingarms, whilst three large 
armies were in movement for her relief; the capture of one French 
army exceeding a hundred thousand men in strength, with the head of 
the state himself in their midst, through the capitulation of Sedan ; 
the surrounding, enclosing and capture of another army of two 
hundred thousand men, the special corps d'dlites of France, in the 
fortress of Metz; the defeat of an army of threefold overpowering 
numbers in the three days battle at Belfort, and its being driven 
OB to the neutral ground of Switzerland, are events of war such as 
absolutely never occurred before. 

These incomparable successes must be regarded, in general, as the 
results of a military sci^ice which understood how to take into account 
the improved means of transport, the altered army organization and 
the arms of precision, new factors which the adversary was as yet 
unable to appreciate; of a military art which knew how to mobilise 
with the greatest rapidity armies of unparalleled magnitude, provided 
with weapons brought to great perfection, and to move them according 
to new principles of strategy and tactics, whilst the adversary, it is 
true, also possessed large armies, yet did not understand their organ- 
ization, and employed them according to ancient rules. 

Since the rapid advances in science exercise their influrace upon 
military matters, so that new and more perfect fire arms are provided 
every ten years, it is the constant endeavour of army-leaders to adapt 
their tactics to this technical progress in the various kinds of weapons, 
and to make such changes as their new claims demand. This can only 
be suocessfiilly done by the earnest persevering endeavours of 
intelligent and discerning men. It is a very laborious and difficult 


When this earnestness and judgment are wanting, the inclination 
is to trust to the weapon alone as an efBcacions lever of victory; 
endeavours are made to employ arms of a particularly deadly and 
perfect kind, the spirit is neglected and the machine is confided in. 

Thus it was with France. Possessing a superior infantry rifle 
and a description of gun, not in use in the German army, the 
French believed victory to be certain, as, from a superficial judgment 
of the Russian victories in 1866, they had attributed their success to 
the needle gun alone. They consequently practised the single tactical 
formations which most enhanced the ^caoy of their fire arms, for 
example, the fighting of the infantry from shelter trenches, but the 
general character of their tactics remained upon the old system. No 
one who has read the French regulations for the use of the Mitrailleuse 
and the report of the commission upon the trial of the Chassepot rifle, 
can avoid the conviction that the French actually grounded their cpn^^ 
fidence in victory for the greatest part, in the superiority of their 

A strange delusion! 

Then again Strategy is a science, which always progresses and 
takes account of the changed laws of arms of modern times in the 
same way as she employs the new means of communication, the 
railway and the telegraph, for their corresponding ends. The 
universal obligation of arms, whilst considerably increasing the 
strength of the army, alters the rules of strategy. 

Armies of half a million of men can no longer be moved upon the 
principles which held good for those of a hundred thousand. 

France, as well as Germany possessed an enormously large army, 
bat she did not understand how to make these masses flexible, to 
unite them upon the decisive points, or to throw them quickly from 
one line on to another. 

The German leadera possessed this skill. They understood, in 
the first place, how to make use of the numerous lines of railway 
which lead to the frontier, simultaneously and without confusion, in 
such a manner that masses of troops were enabled to form up 
against the enemy with astonishing rapidity, upon points 'Which had 
been previously decided upon. Then in the whole further course of 
the war, thanks to the capability of the officers and to the superb 


discipline y they understood how to make judicious use of so many 
roads and ways running parallel, that armies of a hundred thousand 
men were moved forward, united and divided, with the rapidity of 
small divisions. 

The Prussian . staff has called into life an entirely new 

The different armies march in such connection with one another 
that their heads form a single strategical front. During the advance 
so many roads near one another are made use of, hy which the 
columns can move forward leyel in height, that the quickest develop- 
ment and concentration to the front can take place at the moment of 
collision with the enemy. Thus the enemy who perhaps hoped to 
overthrow a dismembered army or to brei^k through its line, imme- 
diately finds himself kept back by the ranks quickly deployed in his 
front and energetically supported, and he is entangled and surrounded 
as if ensnared in the meshes of a net which is drawn together round 
him. This is the only explanation for the enormous number of 
prisoners made by the German armies. It is a phenomenon which 
has occurred in no previous war. The plan of a concentrated attack, 
of outflanking and of surrounding, predominates in all the battles 
as well as in all operations which have a battle for their aim, 
and has produced more brilliant results than any other previous 

The beginning of the war offers a striking example of this strategy, 
whilst at the same time it throws a clear light upon the defects of 
French generalship. 

The German operations at the commencement of the campaign 
consisted in a concentrated strategical attack upon the whole of the 
enemy's position. 

A plan which aims, at once, at surrounding and crushing the 
enemy in front and on both flanks, can only be carried out with a pros- 
pect of success by an army numerically superior and under a Direc- 
tion which is secure of the most precise execution of its complicated 

In earlier wars similar plans have frequently been proposed but 
have never been carried out so effectually. 

A plan of this kind can only succeed with completely drilled 


and disciplined troops^ under distinguished leaders. This has clearly 
been made evident in history. The frequent failure of the concen- 
trated attack had even led to the opinion, that operations such 
as Prussia undertook in 1866 and even in the last campaign were 
entirely faulty. 

It is true that; generally, in a concentrated attack the danger 
for the assailant is great, the moment that any part of the army 
machinery fails. The different bodies of troops advance upon lines 
of operation which converge, but only meet upon the jenemy's 
territory, consequently at a point the possession of which must first 
be obtained. The danger is imminent, lest the enemy with concen- 
trated forces should defeat these bodies one after another by attacking 
them in detail. 

Prussian generalship however succeeded in holding together in 
one hand all the threads of the numerous members. 

There was always a single direction in chief. 

With this idea of a concentrated attack, it knew how to combine 
and carry out a tj^tic, which at the same time secures to itself all 
advantages and avoids all disadvanta^s, which is able to bring into 
full effect all the superiority of the means of communication of pro- 
gressing modern times, above all the telegraph, and fire arms brought 
to the highest degree of perfection. 

^ compainson of the different battles with the strategical 
operations as a whole, clearly shows how greatly this idea of the 
concentrated attack Ues at the foundation of the whole Prussian 
war system. In the same way that armies advance surrounding 
and closing in towards the enemy's forces, so do regiments and 
battalions march upon single positions m the battle, out^-flanking 
and enclosing them. Tactics and strategy come from the same 

The final aim of the strategical movements has, also, frequently 
been the object of the concentrated strategical attack, whilst at the 
same time the final aim was the object of the concentrated tactical 
attack. This was the case in the battle of Kdniggrfttz. 

On the other hand the campaign of 1870 took another form at 
the commencement. 

The French army was divided into corps, each of which took up 


independently^ an excellent tactical position, without perceptible con- 
nection, and without essential mutual suppoi*t, forming altogether a 
strategical line, still not having a disposition in common, no oppor- 
tunity was offered for a general engagement. 

The single direction was wanting. The corps gave battle 
independently by standing in the way of, or throwing themselves 
upon the German armies which were pressing forward in pursuance of 
a previously determined line of operation. 

The^ were conquered, completely broken up, destroyed and taken 
prisoners. • 

In contrast with German leadership, the French generals still did 
homage to obsolete traditions, to which the name of Napoleon I. 
imparted sacred lustre. Instead of the well grounded military instruc- 
tion which gave a secure foundation to the original plans of the 
German leaders, the French, for the most part, only possessed a mili- 
tary routine, above which they were never capable of raising them- 
selves, being entangled in the fatal illusion of their own absolute 
superiority. The French had fought against the Chinese, the Eabyles 
and the Mexicans, for which do particular art of war was necessary ; 
here they had conquered by tactical routine and the bravery of 
the soldiers as well as through superior arms. They had further 
triumphed over the Russians and Austrians. Here also their superior 
tactics and the impetuosity of the troops were the grounds of victory, 
whilst their faulty strategy in the Crimea and Upper Italy had 
well merited such defeats as Prussian generalship prepared for them 
at last. The strategy of the Russians and Austrians was however 
still more deplorable than that of the French. 

In order to give greater freedom of action to the individual corps 
leaders, a system was current in the French army which left each 
corps to follow a particular strategy for itself, that should, however, 
correspond with the general plan. This system had already borne 
evil fruit in the Crimea and Upper Italy. Undertakings such as Mac 
Mahon's flank march from Chalons to Sedan, and exhibitions such as 
the splitting up of the Army in the beginning of August 1870 were 
nothing new in French generalship. Similar things had happened 
in 1859 and as great follies had also taken place in 1854. In both 
wars although the French conquered, a great want of unanimity was 


exhibited in military action; however, aince victorieB had been won 
in former wars in spite of faulty generalship, this generalship was 
estimated as being of the highest genins, and its maxims were 
established in the heads of French strategists as approved principles. 
The generals who had commanded in the Crimea and Upper Italy, 
in Mexico and Algeria were esteemed distinguished comnuunders, and 
in 1870 the Emperor committed to them, in full confidence, a power 
of authority which he ought to have kept in his own hands if he 
had possessed the capacity for it. When these generals now saw an 
enemy opposed to them who did not remain inactive and waiting for 
them, but who unexpectedly attacked, them, they fell into the greatest 
embarrassment and each caring for himself, left one another in the larch. 

Thus, the superiority of the German art of war was established 
over that of the French. 

But the quality of the materials which formed the annies is 
another important factor, the military capacity of the officers and 
men, as well aa the moral qualities of the private soldiers. 

The Germans have gained many victories by understaaiding how 
to collect superior forces upon critical points, others they have won 
with equal forces through skill and bravery, and in isolated cases 
when they have been inferior in numbers, by the tenacity and courage 
of the ti'oops alone. They have proved themselves superior to the 
French, battalion against battalion, squadron against squadron, battery 
against battery. 

At the same time, the arms of the French infantry were superior 
to those of the Germans. 

There can however be no doubt, that as the German officer stood 
above the French officer in education and military capacity, so the 
.German soldier was also superior to the French soldier, and for the 
following reasons : 

The motive powers in the French army were chiefly ambition, 
vanity and avarice. These qualities are only restained with difficulty 
by discipline, and in victory only by good fortune. 

In the African regiments this army had received elements 
which had a destructive influence upon its spirit. The license 
which it was necessary to allow these troops of low moral stand- 
ing, whilst endeavouring to gloss over their licentiousness by flattery 


about their warlike fierceness, was a contagions example for all 

The motive powere in the German army were chiefly a high sense 
of duty, love for the fatherland and exasperation. 

The discipline in the German army was at the highest pitch that 
can, in general, be reached; the faculty of obedience is especially a 
German quality. 

The French army was in a high degree warlike, the German 
army as far as the men were concerned, peace loving; but this 
love of peace did not injure their courage in the smallest degi*ee. In 
general of a prevailing melancholy temperament, the German warrior 
much more frequently went into action with his thoughts upon 
death, than did the French who was of a prevailing sanguinary 
temperament; but just because he had made himself familiar with the 
king of terrors in his thoughts, nothing was able to shake him. He 
had made up his mind to conquer or to die, he carried out his reso- 
lution with the greatest integrity — his bearing when advancing to 
the assault, terrified the French. 

There is still an element in the German army which is not 
to be found in . the French. This is the number of highly educated 
men who carry the rifle. These men transported into a position 
which rouses all the faculties, and incoi'porated in all parts of the 
troops, exhibit warrior qualifications, which being developed in them 
by culture, might still never have been drawn out in peace rela- 
tions, and a light of intelligence spreading from them as it were, 
illuminates a wide circle of their less cultivated comrades and is 
capable of ennobling the spirit of the whole army. 

Thus a highly educated nation, trained for many years in grave 
discipline and the most elevated sciences shows the slowly ripened 
fruits of an harmonious growth by the results also of a development 
of its warlike power. 

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The Strategical Formation. 

The formal declaration of war from France to Prussia was 
delivered to Count Bismarck at 1.30 o^clock in the afternoon of the 
19th of July. However, the agreement to the demands for credit for 
the war in the assembly on the 15thof Jnly^ and the declaration of the 
French government upon that day, constituted in fact, a declaration 
of war, and the North German Confederation consequently began its 
preparations on the 16th of July. It may be inferred from the speech 
of the president Rouher to the Emperor, as well as from official and 
other information, that France had been preparing for a German war 
ever since 1866, and considering the present as the most favourable 
moment, had taken special military measures to have a numerous 
mobile army for disposal in the middle of the month of July. 

The most important of these measures was the addition to 
the army in the camp of ChMons, which in consequence of the number 
of troops being doubled, consisted in the middle of July of about 
80,000 men, and thus comparatively near the German frontier. 
The ciroumstance that in the eastern departments there were a pre- 
ponderating number of garrisons, and that besides, a number of small 
fortified places with the fortresses of Metz and Strasburg lay 
opposite the German frontier, facilitated in a high degree, the concen- 
tration of an army for the invasion of Germany, upon a secure base 
of operations. 

On the other hand the North German Confederation, which the 
attack most nearly concerned, neither possessed the considerable 



frontier fortresses nor the accumulation of garrisons in the threatened 
proyinceS; nor a standing camp. Except at the fortresses of 
Cologne, Coblent4*and Mayence, the Prussian Rhine provinces lay 
open to the enemy, and a large portion of the army had to be 
brought a long distance from the eastern provinces, to the threat- 
ened frontier. 

If France, as she had reckoned on, had only had the North 
German Confederation opposed to her, probably the occupation of 
the left Rhine territory by the French army would have formed the 
commencement of the war. 

The conduct of the South German States first gave the war an 
unfavourable tui*n for France. Surprised by the adhesion of these 
countries to the alliance with the Confederation, the French Govern- 
ment fotmd itself compelled to change its war plans, and even apart 
from political grounds, this change in the military situation explains 
in a great measure, the delay of action. 

The theatre of war extended along the whole frontier from Saar- 
gemtind to Hiiningen,, and it must have been the consideration of an 
attack from Baden or from the Bavarian Palatinate, which paralyzed 
the advance of the French army into Rhinish Prussia. 

In order to compensate for the numerical superiority of the 
German armies opposed to the Emperor Napoleon, which the con- 
duct of the southern states now made still more striking, the French 
Direction conceived the idea of passing quickly over the Rhine in order 
to hinder the junction of the North and South German Armies, and in 
the hope of gaining allies among the neutral states, through the 
impression produced by a firet success. 

In conformity with this idea the French active forces were formed 
up in three large bodies, disposed in such a manner that the enemy 
should be kept in ignorance as to their destination. At Metz 150,000 
men were to be concentrated, 100,000 at Strasburg, and 50,000 in 
the camp of Chalons. This an*angement gave scope for the conjecture 
that an attack would be made either against the Rhine provinces or 
against Baden. 

After the concenti*ation was completed, the Emperor Napoleon 
would unite the Metz and Strasburg armies and cross the Rhine at 
Maxau with an army of 250,000 men, leaving Rastatt on his right 


and Germersheim on his left, and thrust himself between the North 
German Confederation and the Southern States. 

Meanwhile the army of Chfllons was to direct its march upon Metz 
in order to cover the rear of the invading^ army and to watch the 
north-westerp frontier ; at the same time a fleet with ap army to eflTect 
a landing, would threaten the Prussian coasts from the North-Sea and 
the Baltic, and retain there a portion of the North German army. 

It will not be uninteresting to mention the grounds given by the 
Emperor himself for the failure of these plans, in his publication 
'^Des causes qui ont amen6 la capitulation de S6dan''. 

He here says : 

''This plan had not a chance of succeeding, unless the enemy 
could be outstripped in quickness. For this object, not only must 
the required number of soldiers be assembled at fixed points 
in a few days, but also the essential accessories, such as waggons, 
train, artillery paries, pontoons, gunboats to protect the passage of 
the Rhine, and finally the indispensable provisioning with biscuit for 
the support of a numerous army marching in an united body. 

"The Emperor flattered himself that these results could be 
attained, and this was his error ; for like eveiy one else he cherished 
the illusion that a concentration of so many men, horses and war 
material could take place by the railways with the necessary order 
and precision although it had not all been regulated by a careful 
administration long beforehand. 

"The chief cause of our retardation lay in the faults of our mili- 
tary organization, as it had existed for fifty years, and which 
showed themselves from the first moment. Instead of having army 
corps always organized as in Prussia, which are recruited in one 
province and possess the necessary material and accessories upon 
the spot, the troops forming the army of France are scattered over 
the whole territory, whilst the material is accumulated in a few cities, 
and stored in magazines. 

"If is required to form an active division upon some point of 
the frontier, the artillery usually comes from a far distant place, the 
military train and ambulances from Paris and Vernon, almost the 
whole of the provisioning from the capital, and tlie soldiers of the 
reserve fi*om all parts of France. The railroads are insufficient to 


transpoi*t the men, the horses and the material, confusion every- 
where arises, and the railway stations are often full of objects, 
whose nature and destination are unknown. 

''In 1860 the Emperor had decided that the recruits of the second 
category of the contingent should be exercised at the depdts of their 
departments, in order in time of war to be allotted to the regiments 
taking the field. This disposition combined the advantages of the 
Prussian systejn with those of the French. It was only necessary 
for the reserved to repair from their villages to the chief towns of 
their departments where they could be collected, equipped in a shoi*t 
time and enrolled in the different regiments. 

"Unfortunately this system was modified by the war ministry 
in 1866, and from the first moment of his levy each soldier was 
told off to a certain re^ment. By this plan the reserve troops, 
when called to arms in 1870, had frequently to reach their regiments 
in the most complicated manner. For example those in Strasburg 
and whose regiments belonged to Alsace, instead of assembling in 
the Strasburg depots, were sent to their respective depots, perhaps 
in the south of France, or even in Algeria, and had to return again 
from there to Alsace in order to be incorporated in their regiments. 

"It will be understood what delay such an organization must 
occasion in collecting the reserve troops. 

"The same thing occurred in the camp equipage of the men and 
officers, as well as in the ambulance waggons. 

"Instead of being distributed in the depOts in the centre of each 
department, they were stored up in a small number of magazines, 
and by this means a large number of reserve troops came to their 
regiments very imperfectly equipped, without knapsacks, tentes-abri, 
dishes, flasks, cooking kettles, all objects of absolute necessity. 

"To these faults must be added the small initiative committed to 
the generals who commanded the departments and to the intendants. 
A ministerial order was necessary for the smallest article. For example, 
it was impossible to give the officers what was indispensable, or even 
the necessary arms to the soldiers without an order from Paris. 

"This routine of administration deprived the generals of all that 
activity and foresight which sometimes redeem the faults of or- 


''We will therefore hasten to say that in order to place an army 
together, the intelligence of individnals mnst not be somnch depended 
on, as a solid organization which sets in motion a simple machine 
capable of working with regularity in war, because it has been 
accustomed to work with regularity in peace." 

Thus spoke the Emperor Napoleon. 

The weaknesses which have been disclosed in this representation 
may be considered as really proved by what the German troops saw 
and heard when in France, and especially by a great number of docn- 
ments found in the Chateau of St. Cloud, which bear witness to the 
profligate confusion and unprepared state of the French army, and 
furnish a wonderful illustra;tion of the fact, that the French provoked 
the war, in the opinion that they had brought their preparations to the 
highest point of completion. 

But supposing that these weaknesses had not existed, that the 
Emperor Napoleon had even been able to mobilise his whole army 
as quickly as Germany, the attempt to throw it between North and 
South Germany would have been a ruinous imprudence. The army 
of the North German Confederation alone might have been able 
to cause a deplorable fate for the invading French army. 

That Napoleon actually wanted to carry on an offensive war, is 
fully proved by the circumstance that maps of Germany only, were 
distributed through his army. 

In the face however of manifest impossibilities, he gave up all 
bold plans very soon after the declaration of war. 

Thus a delay arose in forming up the French army, which gra- 
dually brought the intended offensive into a defensive disposition. 

For on'th^ German side, the mobilization of the immense forces 
took place with unparalleled celerity and circumspection, and in the 
space of fourteen days overtook the long preparations of the French. 

In consideration of the supposed French plans, the question arose 
for the German Direction whether it would be more advantageous in 
the first instance, to keep back a French invasion with stationary 
troops, or whether a concerted movement should be made at the 
risk of abandoning the frontier provinces. 

The latter course was decided upon. The garrisons stiationed 
nearest to theu frontier only, were to foi*m a frontier cordon in order to 



deceive the enemy^ whilst the mobilization was being pressed forward 
in the interior of the country, with that steadiness which a lasting 
army direction alone renders possible. 

Brilliant generalship and the sacrifice of weak detachments, which 
^the safety of the frontier required, made the execution of this bold 
idea possible. From the moment of the declaration of war to the 
storming of Weissenburg, a period of seventeen days, a few ie^plated 
regiments held the whole of the French army in check , by raising 
the belief that there were already considerable corps on the frontier, 
and so made the French imagine that the whole of the military 
preparations were completed. 

The strategical formation of the French army immediately 
after the declaration of war, which only imperfectly corresponded with 
the above quoted idea of the three bodies, was as follows : 

1st Corpsy Commandant^ Marshal Mac Mahon, head-quarters 
Strasburg. The railway lines from Lyons, Epinal and Nancy con- 
ducted the troops to this place. 

The 5th Corps, Commandant^ General de Failly, composed 
of four Infantry and one Cavalry Divisions, head-quarters Bitsch, joined 
the left wing of the 1st Corps. This corps had no line of railway to 
itself but must base its operations towards the rear either upon the 
line already named, or on that from Metz and Thionville. The front 
was directed towards the railway from Eaisei*slautern to Zweibrticken, 
and the line from Landau to Rastatt. The left wing joined the 2nd. 
Corps, Commandant, General Frossardy head-quarters St. Avoid. 
This village lies to the north of the railway between Metz' and Saar- 
brtickcn, only a few miles from the Prussian towns Lauter and Earls- 
brunn to the south of Saarlouis; here there is an important junction 
of roads which permits of operations being carried on towards Saar- 
brUcken and Saarlouis, or towards Bitsch and Strasburg. 

The Brd Corps^ Commandant y Marshal Bazaine, was based 
upon Metz and threatened the fortress of Saarlouis, by the high roads 
through Boulay and Bouzonville. 

The 4tlh Corps, General Ladmirault , forming the left wing, 
rested upon Thionville, and could advance by two r^^ads into the 


Moselle country. One towards the north^ leading by Sierk to Saar- 
burg and Trier^ the other through Bouzonville to Saarlouis by the 
road joining that from Metz. 

Canroberfs Corps at ChMons, Feluv Douajfs at Belfort and 
the Imperial Guard under Bourbaki in and about Nancy, formed 
the second line. 

The Fi*ench army was therefore extended upon a line 20 miles 
in length (72 English miles) threatening South Germany with its right 
wing at Strasburg, the Prussian Saar with its left wing at Thion- 
ville and Sierk, and the Bavarian Rhine Palatinate with its centre 
at Bitsch, whilst the Guards, Canrobert's and Douay's Corps formed 
the reserve. 

During the last few days before hostilities began, a change was 
made in this original formation, on account of the concentration of 
considerable German forces in the Rhine Palatinate and in the southern 
part of the Prussian Rhine province, which made Napoleon appre- 
hensive that his long line might be broken through. Marshal Mac 
Mahon was ordered to draw neai*er to the main army and to march 
towards the neighbourhood of Bitsch. This retrograde movement in 
the defensive was, already, the surrender of all the earlier offensive 
plans against South Germany and the Rhine, and the French, con- 
sequently, now entrenched themselves in great haste in all their posi- 
tions. Mac Mahon pushed forward Abel Douay's Division towards the 
Lauter, to occupy Weissenburg for the purpose of covering his intended 
flank nuCrch. 


at the beginning of the war. 

Commander in chief of the Army: Emperor Napoleon III. — Chief of the 
Staff of the Army : Marshal Leboeuf. — Deputy chief of the Staff: General 
of Division Lebrun, — Deputy chief of the Staff: General of Division 
Jarras. — Commander in chief of Engineers : General of Division Soleille. 
— Commander in chief of Artillery : General of Division Cofjmieres de 
Nordeck, — Commandant of Imperial Head Quarters : General Leiellier 
de Blanchard, 


General of Division Bottrbaki. Chief of the Staff, General Dauvergne. 


1st Inf. Div. 

General of Division 


2nd Inf. Div. 

General of Division 


Cavalry Div. 

General of Division 




1st Brig. Gen. Brincourt, 

2nd Brig. Gen. Gamier. 

1st Brig. Gen. Janingros. 

2nd Brig. Gen. Poitevin. 

Ist Brig. Gen. du Fretay. 

2nd Brig. Gen, de France. 

3rd Brig. Gen. du Preuil. 

Jager Battalion.— 1st and 
2nd Voltigeur R. 

3rd and 4th Voltigeur R. 

Zouave R. — Ist Grena- 
dier R. 

2nd and 3rd Grenadier R. 

Guides R. — Chasseurs R. 
Lancer R. — Dragoon R. 

Cuirassier R. — 
ncer R. 


The Garde Corps numbered 21 battalions, 24 squadrons and 12 batteries. 




(The alterations whioh took place after the battle of WOrth are ehowii in parenthesis.) 

Marshal Mac Mahon^ Due of Magenta. (General Ducrot.) — Chief of the 
Staff, General Colson. (General Faure. — Col. Robert.) 

■ ' 



Ist Inf. Div. 
General of Division 
• (Gen. Wolff.) 

2nd Inf. Div. 

General of Division 

(Abel) Douay. 

(G. Pelld.) 

1st Brig. Gen. Wolff. 

13th Jager Bat. — 18th and 
96th B. of the Line. 

2nd Brig. Gen. du Postis 
du Houlbec. 

46th R. of the Line. — 
1st Zouave R. 

Ist Brig. Gen. Montmarie. 

16th Jager Bat. — 50th and 
74th R. of the Line. 

3rd Inf. Div. 
General of Division 
- Raoul. 

4th Inf. Div. 

General of Division 

de Lartigue. 

2nd Brig. Gen. Pell^. 

78th R. of the Line. 

l6t R. Algerian Tiraill. 

Ist R. de Marehe. 

1st Brig. Gen. L'H^rUlier. 
(Gen. Cartret-Trecourt.) 

8th Jager Battalion. — 36th 

and 48th B. of the Line. 

(2nd Zouave R.) 

2nd Brig. Gen. Lefebvre. 

2nd Zouiive R.— 2nd R.Al- 
gerian Tiraill. (48th R. of 
the Line. — 1 Bat. Frane- 
tireurs from Paris.) 

1st Brig. Gen. Fraboulet. 

1st Jager Batt. — 56th and 
87th B. of the Line (re- 
mained in Strasburg (2nd R. 
de Marehe). 

2nd Brig. Gen. Laeretelle. 

3rd Zouave R. — 3rd R. 
Algerian Tirailleurs. 

Cavalry Div. 

General of Division 


1st Brig. Gen. de Septeuil. 

drd Hussar and 11th Chas- 
seur R. 

2ud Brig. Gen. de Nansouty. 

2nd and 6th Lancer R. — 
10th Dragoon R. 

3rd Brig. Gen. Michel. | 8th and 9th Cuirassier B. 

The first Army Corps numbered in July, 62 battalions, S8 squadrons and 18 batteries. 



General of Division ' Froward. . Chief of the Staff, General Siiget. 




Ist Inf. Div. 

General of Division 


2nd Inf. Div. 

General of Division 


Ist Brig. Gen. Tixier, later 
Gen. Letellier-Valaze. 

3rd Jager Bat. — 32nd and 
55th R. of the Line. 

2nd Brig. Gen. Jolivet. 

76th and 77th R. of the 

Ist Brig. General Pouget. 

12th Jager Bat. — 8th and 
23rd R. of the Line. 

2nd Brig. G. Fauvart-Bastoul. 

66th and 67th R. of thg 

3rd Inf. Div. 

General of Division 

de Laveancoapet. 

1st Brig. Gen. Docns, later 
Gen. Maudhuy. 

10th Jager Bat. — 2nd and 
63rd R. of the Line. 

2nd Brig. Gen. Michelet. 

24th and 40th R. of the 

Cavalry Div. 

General of Division 


1st Brig. Gen. Valabregue. 

4th and 5th Chasseur R. 

2nd Brig. Gen. Bachelier. 7th and 12th Dragoon R. 

The second Army Corps numbered 39 battalions, 16 squadrons and 16 batteries. 


Marshal Bazcdne (later Gen. Deca^n, later Marshal Leboeuf). Chief of the 

Staff, General Maneque. 




1st Inf. Div. 
General of Division 

1st Brig. Gen. Aymard. 

18th Jager Bat. — 5 1st and 
62nd R. of the Line. 


2nd Brig. Gen. Clinchaut. 

8l8tand 95th R. of the Line. 

2nd Inf. Div. 
General of Division 

1st Brig. Gen. Cambriels. 

15th Jager Bat. — 19th and 
41st R. of the Line. 

de Castagny. 

2nd Brig. Gen. Duplessis. 

69th and 90th R. of theLine. 

3rd Inf. Div. 
General of Division 

1st Brig. Gen. de Potier. 

17th Jager Bat. — 7th and 
29th R. of the Line. 

de Mettmann. 

2nd Brig. Gen. Arnaudeau.|59th and 71stR. of thcLine. 

4th Inf. Div. 
General of Division 

* ^ -o ' n J r» 11th Jager Bat. — 44th and 
l8t Bng. Gen. dc Bauer. ^^^^ ^ ^^ ^^^ j. .^^ 


2ndBrg. G. Sangle-Ferriercs. 

80th and 85th R. of the Line. 





Cav. Div. 

General of Division 

dc CierambauU. 

l8t Hrig. Gen. Bruchard. 

2nd Brig. Gen. Maubrunehcs. 
3rd Brig. Gen. de Juniac. 

2nd 3rd and 10th Chas- 
seur R. 

2nd and 4th Dragoon R. 

5th and 8th Dragoon R. 

The third Army Corps numbered 63 battaliong, 88 tqaadroDS and 18 batterioi. 


General of Division de Ladmirault. Chief of the Staff, General Desaint. 


1st Inf. Div. 

General of Division 

de Cisscy. 

2nd Inf. Div. 

General of Division 


3rd Inf. Div. 
General of Division 
• de Lorcncey. 

Cav. Div. 

General of Division 



1st Brig. Gen. Braycr. 

2nd Brig. Gen. dc Colbert. 

1st Brig. Gen. Bellecourt. 

2nd Brig. Gen. Pradier. 

1st Brig. Gen. Pajol. 

2nd Brig. Gen. Berger. 

1st Bmg. Gen. de Montaigu. 

2nd Brig. G. de Goudrccourt. 


20th Jagcr Bat. — 1st and 
6th R. of the Line. 

57th and 73rd R. of the Line. 

5th Jager Bat. — 13th and 
43rd R. of the Line. 

(54th and 98th R. of the Line. 

2nd Jager Bat. — 15th and 
33rd R. of the Line. 

54th and 65th R. of the Line. 

2nd and 7th Hussar R. 

3rd and 7th Dragoon R. 

The fourth Army Corps numbered 89 battalions, 16 squadrons and 16 batteries. 


General of Division de Failly (later dc WimpfFen). Chief of the Staft', 

General Besson. 


Ist Inf. Div. 

General of Division 



ist Brig. Gen. Grenier. 

2nd Brig. Gen. Nicolas. 


4th Jager Bat. — 11th and 
46th R. of the Line. 

6l8t and 86th R. of the 


2nd Inf. Div. 

General of Division 

de TAbadie. 

3rd Inf. Div. 

General of Division 

Guyot de Lcspart. 

Cavalry Div. 

General of Division 





1st Brig. Gen. Lapassct*). 

2nd Brig. Gen. dc Manssion. 

1st Brig. Gen. Abatucci. 

2nd Brig. Gen. de Fontange. 

Ist Brig. Gen. de Bcrnis. 

2nd Brig. G. de la Mortiere. 

14th Jager Batt. — 49th and 
84th R. of the Line. 

88th and 97th R. of the Line. 

19th Jager Batt. — 17th and 
27th R. of the Line. 

30th Jnd 68th R. of the Line. 

5th Hussar and 12th Chas- 
seur R. 

3rd and 5th Lancer R. 

The fifth Army Corps numbered 39 battalioni, 16 sqaAdrona and 16 batteriei. 


Marshal CanroberL Chief of the Staff, General Henri. 




1st Inf. Div. 

General of Division 


2nd Inf. Div. 

General of Division 


3rd Inf. Div. 

General of- Division 

Lafont de Villiers. 

4th Inf. Div. 

General of Division 

Le vassor-Sorval . 

Cav. Div. 

General of Division 

de Fenelon. 

1st Brig. Gen. Pechot. 

2nd Brig. G. Leroy de Dais. 

9. Jager Batt. — 4th and 
10th R. of the Line. 

12th and 100th Reg. of the 

Ist Brig. Gen. Noel. 

2nd Brig. Gen. Maurice. 

1st Brig. Gen. de Sonnay. 

2nd Brig. Gen. Colin. 

Ist Brig. G. de Marguenat. 

2nd Brig. G. de Chanaleibles. 

1st Brig. Gen. Tilliard. 

2nd Brig. Gen. Snvarcssc. 

3rd Brig. Gen. de Beville. 

9th and 14th R. of the Line. 

20th and 30th Reg. of the 

75th and 9l8t Reg. of the 

93rd and 94th Reg. of the 

25th and 26th R. of the Line. 

28th and 70th R. of the Lino. 

1st Hnssnr and 6th Chass. R. 
1st and 7th Lancer R. 

5th and 6th Cuirassier R. 


*) This Brigade which held posies^ion of Saargemftnd in the beginning of Auguit, got sepft- 
rated from the Corps in the retreat to Chalons, ftQd retired apon Mets with the third Corps. 


The Bizth Army Corps numbered 49 bafctalioni, 24 squadrons and 18 batteries. 

The 14th 20th and 80th Regiments of the Line were separated from the sixth Corps at 
Frouard, and afterwards joined the 12th Corps which was reformed in Chalons. The whole 
Cavalry OiTision was unable to reach the Corps in Mets, and later formed the oaralry of 
the 12th Corps. 


General of Division {FeHx) Doxwy* Chief of the Staff, Gen. Renson. 




Ist Inf. Div. 

General of Division 

Conseil - Damesnil. 

2nd Inf. Div. 

General of Division 


3rd Inf. Div. 

General of Division 


Cav. Div. 

General of Division 


Ist Brig. Gen. Brettevillc, 
later Gen. Morand. 

2nd Brig. Gen. Maire, later 
Gen. St. Hilairc. 

1st Brig. Gen. Guiomar. 

2nd Brig. G. de la Bastidc. 

1st Brig. Gen. Bordas. 

2nd Brig. Gen. Bittard des 

1st Brig. Gen. Cambriel. 

2nd Brig. Gen. Jolif du 

17th Jager Bat. — 3rd and 
2l8t R. of the Line. 

47th and 99th R. of the Line. 

6th Jager Bat. — 5th and 
37th R. of the Line. 

53rd and 89th R. of the Line. 
52nd and 72nd R. of the Line. 

82nd and83rdR. of theLine. 

4th Hussar and 4th and 8th 
Lancer R. 

6th Hussar and 6th Drag. R. 

The seventh Army Curps numbered S8 battalions, 20 squadrons and 16 batteries. 
The 8nd Cavalry Brigade which was formed in Lyons, never reached the Corps. 


General du Barrail. 

1st Brig. Gen. Margueritte. 1st and 3rd Chasseurs d'Afrique. 
2nd Brig. Gen. de Lajaillc. 2nd and 4th — — 


General de Bonnemain, 

1st Brig. 1st and 2nd Cuirassier R. 
2nd Brig. 3rd and 4th — 


1st Brig. Prince J. Murat. 1st and 9th Dragoon R. 
2nd Brig. Gen. de Grammont. 7th and 10th Cuirassier R. 


The strength of this mobile Field Army^ at the beginning of 
the war is reckoned therefore in the following manner : The Infantry 
Divisions consisted almost without exception of 13 Battalions, and the 
Cavahy Divisions of 4, 6, 6, even 7 Regiments. The Battalions 
numbered about 720 men, the Cavalry regiments numbered 500 




-: — : — r-== — . 






Garde C. 



















































Total 241.200 27.500 


The Corps which was destined for landing on the German coast, 
or probably for co-operation with the Danes in Jutland, is not here 
taken into account, for its formation was not completed, by reason of 
the rapid victories of the Germans. 

This effective strength of the army formed up in the eastern 
provinces at the beginning of the war and estimated at a united 
capitation of 310,000 men, differs without doubt considerably from 

*) In order to distiDgmsb more easily between the French and German Corps, the 
former will be always indicated by Arabic figures, and the latter by Roman figures. 


the said strength of the whole Field Army, wliose war state in com- 
batants was reckoned as follows : 

304,000 Men Infantry 
40,000 „ Cavalry, 
46,000 „ Artillery, 
11,000 „ Engineers, 
10,000 „ Train, 
as well as 13,000 Officers of all arms. 

Total 424,000 Men. 

In Artillery 3 batteries, including one mitrailleuse battery, were 
allotted to each Infantry Division, and a reserve of 6 batteries includ- 
ing one horee battery to each Army Corps. 

Thus a Corps of 3 Divisions had 15 batteries with 90 guns, and 
a Corps of 4 Divisions 18 batteries with 108 guns. 

The Engineer troops in each corps were composed of a company 
of Engineers for each Division, and one company with the Engineer 
Park for the Corps. 

According to the preceding order of battle the following troops 
were not employed with the army in the field: the 16th 38th 39th 
and 92nd Regiments of the Line, 3 Battalions of African Light 
Infantry, 1 Foreign Regiment, the 8th Hussars, the 1st and 9th 
Chasseurs, and 3 Regiments of Spahis. These troops were stationed 
in Algeria and in addition, the 22nd 34th 58th and 79th Regiments 
of the Line which were stationed on the Spanish frontier. 

Lastly the 35th and 42nd Regiments of the Line which were in 
Civita Vecchia, and the 7th and 8th Chasseurs which were in France, 
but not with the Army. 


In contrast to the precipitate haste with which the French troops 
had been thrown upon the frontier immediately after the declaration 
of war, followed by the loss of a series of days in uncertain delays and 
insecure operations, the sti*ategical formation of the armies in Germany 
was only commenced after the mobilization according to a settled plan 
had been completed, and its accomplishment was indicated by an 
immediate energetic advance, and a victorious encounter with the 
enemy upon hostile territory. 

Three armies had been organized in the last week of July, and 
concentrated upon Coblentz, Mayence and Mannheim as their basis of 

The First Army ^ under the command of General von SteinmetSj 
head quarters Coblentz, formed the right wing. 

The Second Army^ under the command of Prince Frederick 
Charles^ head quarters Mayence, formed the centre. 

The Third Army^ under the command of the Crown Prince of 
Prussiay head quarters Mannheim, formed the left wing. 

This disposition, owing to the peculiar rapidity and energy of 
German Leadership, combined with the irresolution of the enemy, 
resulted in the desired power of taking the offensive being now 
entirely given up to the Germans. Until this favourable state of 
affairs the German Direction had to consider the probability of an 
attack on the part of the French, and could not lose sight of the pos- 
sibility that the French army would make use of the railroad so favour- 
ably situated via Metz- Thionville- Luxemburg for an invasion of the 
Rhine provinces, although in violation of the neutrality of Luxem- 
burg. The position of the right wing in Coblentz, was a position of 
defence opposite the Luxemburg frontier. 

At the same time this disposition showed how disadvantageous tiie 
German-French frontier was for Germany. Whilst the French army 
could be concentrated in the immediate neighbourhood of the frontier 
upon secure points, the German army must abandon considerable pro- 


vinces in order to obtain a safe basis of operations. Between the line 
mentioned and the frontier such an one was not to be found. 

Besides the unexpected attack upon Alsace which was carried 
into execution, the position of the German left wing also made the 
defence of Baden feasible, in case the French army had directed its 
attack against South Germany. The enemy's entry into Baden would 
have been a flank march against the army of the Crown Prince. How- 
ever the position of the three armies collectively, at once removed the 
danger for South Germany, because by it the main body of the Ger- 
mans was brought nearer to its object of operations, just as the 
French army would have been nearer to theirs by an invasion of 
South Germany. Paris on the' one side, and Berlin on the other had 
been the chief aims of the strategical operations from the beginning, 
and all the movements which might have had other aims could only be 
of secondary interest. 

Thus, through its strategical importance, the disposition from 
Mannheim to Goblentz defended South Germany. 




in the beginning of the war, until after the battle of Gravelotte 

on the 18th August 1870. 

Commander in Chief: King William 1st of Prussia. — Adjutant Generals: 
Infantry General von Boyen, Lieut. General von Treskow, Major General 
Baron von Steindcker^ Lieut. Colonel Count von Lehndorff, Lieut. Colonel 
Anton Radziwill, Lieut. Colonel Count von Waldersee, Major von Alten. 

— Chief of the Staff of the Army: Infantry General Baron von Moltke. 

— Quarter master General : Lieut. General von Podbielski, — Deputy 
Chiefs of the Staff: Lieut. Colonel Bronsart von Schellendorff, Lieut. 
Colonel von Verdy du Veimois, Lieut. Colonel von Brandenstein. — 
Inspector General of Artillery : Infantry Gen. v. flindersin. — Inspector 
General of Engineers : Lieut. General v. Kleist. 


Commander in Chief: Infantry General von Steinmetz. — Chief of the Staff: 
Major General v. Sperling. — Chief Quartermaster: Colonel Count v. 
Wartensleben. — Commander of the Artillery: Lieut. General Schwartz. 
— Commander of the Engineers and Pioneers: Colonel Biehler. 


Cavalry Gen. Baron v. Manteuffel, Chief of the Staff, Lieut. Col. v. d. Burg. 




Ist Inf. Div. 

Major General von 


Ist Inf. Brig. Major General 
V. Gayl. 

2nd Inf. Brig. Major Gen. 
V. Falkenstein. 

Gren. R. Crown Prince No. 1 
Inf. R. No. 41. 

Grenadief R. No. 3. 
Infant. R. No. 43. 

Jager Battalion No. 1 and Dragoon Regiment No. 1. 




2nd Inf. Div. 
Major General 
V. PritKelwitz. 

8rd Inf. Brig. 
Major General v. Memerty. 

4th Inf. Brig. 
Major General v. Zglinitzki. 


Grenadier R. No. 4. 
Infantry R. No. 44. 

Grenadier R. No. 6. 
Infantry R. No. 45. 

Dragoon Regiment No. 10. 

Regiment of Field Artillery Ko. 1, Pioneer Battalion No. 1, Battalion of 

Train No. 1. 

Altogether 86 l»»ttalioos, 8 iqusdrong, 84 gunSf bMides pioneen and train, 
recruited in, and garriaons Bast and Weit Praeaia. 

This Corps ia 


Infantry General v. Zmtrow. Chief of the Staff, Colonel v. Unger. 




13th Inf. Div. 

Lieutenant General 

V. Gliimer. 

25th Infantry Brig. 

Major General Baron 

V. d. Osten called ^acken 

Inf. R. No. 13. 
Fusilier R. No. 73. 

26th Infantry Brig. 

Major General Baron 

V. der Goltz. 

Inf. R. No. 16. 
Inf. R. No. 65. 

Jager Battalion No. 7 and Hussar Regiment No. 8. 

14th Inf. Div. 

Lieutenant General 

V. Kamecke. 

27th Infantry Brig. 
Major Getieral v. Fran9ois. 

28th Inf. Brig. 
Major General v. Woyna II. 

Fusilier R. No. 39. 
Infantry iR. No. 74. 

Infantry K. Nu. u3. 
Infantry R. No. 77. 

Hussar Regiment No. 16. 

Regiment of Field Artillery No. 7, Pioneer Battalion No. 7, Train 

Battalion No. 7. 

Altogether 86 battalions, 8 aqnadrona, 84 guns, besides pioneers and train. The Corps 
\\ recruited in W^tphalia, Niederrhein and Hanover, and garrisons Westphalia and the 
Rhine province. 




Infantry General v. Goehen. Chief of the Staff, Col. v. Witzendorff. 




15th Inf. Div. 

Lieutenant General 

V. Weltzien. 

29th Infantry Brig. 
Major General v. Wedell. 

30th Infantry Brig. 
Major General v. Strubberg. 

Fu8. Reg. No. 33. 

Inf. Reg. No. 65. 

Inf. Reg. No. 28. 

Inf. Reg. No. 67. 

16th Inf. Div. 

Lieut. General 

Baron v. Barnekow. 

Jager Battalion No. 8, and King's Hussar Reg. No. 7. 

Slst Infantry Brig. 

Major General Count Neid- 

hardt v. Gneisenau. 

32nd Infantry Brig. 
Colonel V. Rex. 

Inf. Reg. Ifo. 29. 
Inf. Reg. No. 69. 

Fusilier Reg. No. 40. 
Infantry Reg. No. 72. 

Hussar Regiment No. 9. 

Regiment of Field Artillery No. 8, Pioneer Battalion No. 8, Train 

Battalion No. 8. 

Altogether 25 battalions, 8 squadrons, 90 guns, besides pioneers and train. The Corps is 
recruited in the Rhine province and garrisons it, regiment No. 38 in East Prussia. The 68th 
and 70th remained in Coblents and Saarlouis as garrisons, and their places were filled by the 
67th and 72ud regiments, from the IV. Corps, but who afterwards changed again with them. 




1st Cav. Div. 
Lieut. General 

1st Cavalry Brig. 
Major General v. Liideritz. 

C-uirassier R. No. 2. 
Ufilan R. No. 4. 
Uhlan B. No. 9. 

y. Ilartmann. 

2nd Cavalry Brig. 
Major General Baumgarth. 

Cuirassier R. No. 3. 

Uhlan R. No. 8. 

Uhlan R. No. 12. 

3rd Cav. Div. 

Major General 

Count v. d. Groeben. 

6th Cavalry Brig. 
Major General v. Mirus. 

Cuirassier R. No. 8. 
Uhlan R. No.. 7. 

7th Cavalry Brig. 
Major Gen. Count zu Dohna. 

Uhlan R. No. 5. 
Uhlan R. No. 14. 

Altogether 40 squadrons, 12 guni. 



Commander in Chief: Prince Frederick Charles of Prussia. — Chief of the 
Staff: Major General v. Stiehle. — Chief Quartermaster: Colonel von 
Hertzberg. — Commander of the Artillery: Lieut. General v. Colomier. 
— Commander of the Engineers and Pioneers: Colonel Lenthaus. 


Cavalry General Prince Augustus of Wurtemherg. Chief of the Staff, Major 

General v. Dannenberg. 



1st Guards Inf. Div. 

Major General 

V. Pape. 

Ist Guards Infantry Brig. 
Major General v. Kcsscl. 

2nd Guards Inf. Div. 
Lient. General 
V. Budritzki. 

Guards Cavalry 


Lieut. General 

Count v. d. Goltz. 

2nd Guards Infantry Brig. 
Major General v. Medem. 


1st Foot Guards. 
3rd Foot Guards. 

2nd Foot Guards. 

4th Foot Guards. 

Fusilier Guards. 

Guards Jager Battalion. 

3rd Guards Infantry Brig. 
Col. Knappe v. Knappstadt. 

4th Guards Infantry Brig. 
Major General v, Berger. 

Kaiser Alexander's Grenad. 

Guards No. 1. 
Queen Elizabeth's Grenadier 

Guards No. 3 

Emperor Franz Grenadier 

Guards No. 2. 

Queen's Grenadier Guards 

No. 4. 

Guards Schiitzen Battalion. 

Ist Guards Cavalry Brig. 

Migor General 
Count V. Brandenburg I. 

2nd Guards Cavalry Brig. 

Lieut. General 
Prince Albert of Prussia. 

3rd Guards Cavalry Brig. 

Major General 
Count V. Brandenburg II. 

Cuirassier Guards. 

1st Uhlans of the Guard. 

3rd Uhlans of the Guard. 

Ilnssar Guards. 

1st Dragoon Guards. 

2nd Dragoon Guards. 

2nd Uhlans of the Guards. 

The Guards Field Artillery Regiment, the Guard Pioneers and the Guard 

Train Battalions. 

Altogether 29 battalions, 82 tquadrona, 90 guns besldee pioneers and train. The Corps 
is recruited in the whole kingdom, and chiefly garrisons Berlin and its neighbourhood. 




Infantry General v. Fransecky. Chief of the Staff, Colonel v. Wiehmann. 




3rd Inf Div. 

5th Infantry Brig. 
Major General v. Koblinski. 

Frederick William IVth 
Grenadiers No. 2. 
Inf. Reg. No. 42. 

Major General 
V. Hartmann. 

6th Inf. Brig. 
Colonel V. d. Decken. 

Inf. Keg. No. 14. 
Inf. Reg. No. 64. 

Jager Battalion No. 2 and 3rd Dragoons. 

4th Inf. Div. 

7th Inf. Brig. 
Major Genei-al du Trossel. 

Colberg Grenadiers No. 9. 
Inf. Reg. No. 49. 

Lieut. General 
Hann v. Weihern. 

8th Infantry Brig. 
Major General v. Kettler. 

Inf. Reg. No. 21. 
Inf. Reg. No. 61. 

Dragoon Regiment No. 11. 

Regiment of Field Artillery No. 2, Pioneer Battalion No. 2, Train 

Battalion No. 2. 

Altogether 25 battftlions, 8 squadrons, 84 guns, besides pioneers and train. The Corps is 
recruited in the provinees of Pomerania and Posen, and garrisons them. 


Lieutenant General v. Alvensleben II. Chief of the Staff, Colonel v. 





5th Inf. Div. 

9th Infantry Brig. 
Major General v. Doring. 

Leib Grenadiers No. 8. 
Inf. Reg. No. 48. 

Lieut. General 
V. Stiilpnagel. 

10th Infantry Brig. 
Major General v. Schwerin. 

Grenadiers No. 12. 
Inf. Reg. No. 62. 

Jager Battalion No. 3 and 12th Dragoons. 

6th Inf. Div. 

11th Infantry Brig. 
Major General v. Rothmaler. 

Inf. Reg. No. 20. 
Inf. Reg. No. 60. 

Lieut. General 
V. Buddenbrock. 

12th Infantry Brig. 
Colonel V. Bismarck. 

Inf. Reg. No. 24. 
Fusilier Reg. No. 35. 

Dragoon Regiment No. 2. 

Regiment of Field Artillery No. 3, Pioneer Batt. No. 3, Train Batt. No. 3. 


Altogether 86 battalions, 8 squadrons, 84 guns, besides pioneers and train. The Corps is 
recruited in the prOTinoe of Brandenburg and garrisons it. 


Infantry General v. Alvenslehen I. Chief of the Staff, Colonel v. Thile. 


7th Inf. Div. 
Lieut. General 
V. Gross, called 
V. Schwarzhoff. 


13th Infantry Brig. 
Major General v. Borries. 


14th Infantry Brig. 
Major Gen. v. Zychlinski. 

Inf. Reg. No. 26. 
Inf. Reg. No. 66. 

Inf. Reg. No. 27. 
Anhalt Inf. Reg. No. 93. 

Jager Battalion No. 4 and Dragoon Reg. No. 7. 

8th Inf. Div. 

Lieut. General 

V. Scholer. 

15th Infantry Brig. 
Major General v. Kessler. 

l^th Infantry Brig. 
Colonel V. Scheffler. 

Inf. Reg. No. 31. 
Inf. Reg. No. 71. 

Fusilier Reg. No. 86. 
Inf. Reg. No. 96. 

Hussar Regiment No. 12. 

Regiment of Field Artillery No. 4, Pioneer Battalion No. 4, and Train 

Battalion No. 4. 

Altogether 26 battalions, 8 squadrons, 84 guns, besides pioneers and train. The Corps 
garrisons the provinoe of Saxony and Anhalt, and is recruited from the same places with the 
exception of the 86th Regiment from Sohleswig Holstein. 


Infantry General v. Manstein. Chief of the Staff, Major Bronsart von 




18th Inf. Div. 

Lieut. General 

Baron v. Wrangel. 

35th Infantry Brig. 
Major Gen. v. Blumenthal. 

36th Infantry Brig. 
Major General v. Below. 


Inf. Reg. No. 25. 
Inf. Reg. No. 84. 

Grenadier Reg. No. 11, 
Inf. Reg. No. 86. 

Jager Battalion No. 9 and Dragoon Reg. No. 6. 





25th Grand Dacal 

Hessian Division 

Lieut. General 

Prince Louis of Hesse. 

49th Infantry Brig. 
Major General v. Wittich. 

50th Inf. Brig. 
Major General v. Lypcker. 

Hessian 25th Cavalry Brig. 
Major Gen. v. Schlotheim. 

Hess. Leib-Gnard R. No. 1. 
Hess. Inf&ntry Reg. No. 2. 
Hess. GuardjagerBat. No. 1. 

Hess. Leib-Reg. No. 3. 

Hess. Inf. Reg. No. 4. 

Hess. Leibjag. Bat. No. 2. 

Hess. 1st Horse Reg. 
Hess. 2nd Horse Reg. 

2 divisions of the 2nd Regiment of Field Artillery, Hessian Field Artillery, 
1/2 Pioneer Battalion No. 9, Hessian Pioneer Company, Vs T^roXn Batta- 
lion No. 9, and Hessian Train Division. 

The Hessian Infantry Begiments numbered only 2 battalioni, therefore altogether there 
were 28 battalions, 12 aquadrons, 90 gnns, besides pioneers and train. 

The I8th Infantry Division, which properly belonged to the 9th Army Corps, remained 
behind for the defence of the coast. 

The 18th Division garrisoned Sohleswig-H olstein , the 9th regiment was recruited in 
Silesia, the 26th in the Rhine province, and the 6th Dragoons in the Magdeburg province, 
the remaining troops in Schleswig-Holstein. 


Infantry General v. Voigts-Rhetz. Chief of the Staff, Major v. Caprivi. 




19th Inf. Div. 

Lieut. General 

V. Schwarzkoppen. 

20th Inf. Div. 

Major General 

V. Kraatz-Koschlau. 

37th Infantry Brig. 
Colonel Lehmann. 

38th Infantry Brig. 
Major General v. Wedell. 

Inf. Reg. No. 78. 
Oldenburg Inf. R. No. 91 

Inf. Reg. No. 16. 
Inf. Reg. No. 67. 

9th Dragoons. 

39th Infantry Brig. 
Major General v. Woyna I. 

40th Infantry Brig. 

Major General v. Dirings- 


Inf. Reg. No. 17. 
Inf. Reg. No. 56. 

Inf. Reg. No. 70. 
Braunschw. Inf. R. No. 92. 

Jager Battalion No. 10 and Dragoon Reg. No. 16. 

Regiment of Field Artillery No. 10, Pioneer Battalion No. 10 and Train 

Battalion No. 10. 

Altogether 26 battalions, 8 squadrons, 84 guns, besides pioneers and train. The Corps is 
recruited in the provinces of Hanover and Westphalia, and in Oldenburg and Braunschweig. 



General Crown Prince Albert of Saxony. ^ Chief of the Staff, Lieut. Colonel 

V. Zezschwitz. 




23rd Inf. Div. 
Lieut. General 

45th Infantry Brig. 
Major Gen. v. Craushaar. 

l8t(Leib-) Gren. R. No. 100. 
2nd Grenadier Reg. No. 101. 

Prince George of 
Saxony. • 

46th Infantry Brig. 
Colonel V. Months. 

Inf. Reg. No. 102. 

Inf. Reg. No. 103. 

Schutzen Reg. No. 108. 

24th Inf. Div. 

47th Infantry Brig. 
Major General Tauscher. 

Inf. Reg. No. 104. 
Inf. Reg. No. 106. 

Major General 
Nehrhoff v. Holder- 


48th Infantry Brig. 
Colonel, V. Schultz. 

Inf. Reg. No. 106. 

Inf. Reg. No. 107. 

Jager Battalion No. 12. 

Jager Battalion No. 13. 

Cavalry Division 

Major General 

Count znr Lippe. 

23rd Cavalry Brig. 
Colonel Krug v. Nidda. 

Guard Horse Reg. 

Ist Horse Reg. 

Uhlan Horse Reg. No. 17. 

24th Cavalry Brig. 
Colonel Senfft v. PilHach. 

2nd Horse Reg. 

3rd Horse Reg. 

Uhlan Hdrse Reg. No. 18. 

Regiment of Field Artillery No. 12, Pioneer 

Battalion No. 12. 

Battalion No. 12, Train 

Altogether 89 battaliouB, 24 equadrone, 96 guni, besidea pioneeri and train. Throughout 
Royal Saxon troops. 






11th Cavalry Brig. 
Major General v. Barby. 

Cuirassier Reg. No. 4. 

Uhlan Reg. No. 13. 
Dragoon Req:. Na 19. 

5th Cav. Div. 

Lieut. General 

Baron v. Rheinbaben. 

12th Cavalry Brig. 
Major General v. Bredow. 

Cuirassier Reg. No. 7. • 

Uhlan Reg. No. 16. 
Dragoon Reg. No. 13. 

13th Cavalry Brig. 
Major General v. Redern. 

Hussar Reg. No. 10. 

Hussar Reg. No. 11. 

Braunschw. Hus. R. No. 17. 



6th Cavalry Div. 
Lieut. General 
Duke William 

of Mecklenburg- 



14th Cavalry Brig. 

Colonel Baron v. Diepen- 


15th Cavalry Brig. 
Major General v. Rauch. 

Cuirassier Reg. No. 6. 
Uhlan Reg. No. 3. 
Uhlan Reg. No. 15. 

Hussar Reg. No. 3. 
Hussar Reg. No 16. 

Altogether 66 Bquadrons, 18 guoi. 


Commander in Chief: General of Infantry Crown Prince Frederick William 
of Prussia. — Chief of the Staff: Lieut. General v. Blumenthal. — Chief 
Quartermaster: Colonel v. Gottberg. — Commander of the Artillery: 
Lieut. General Herkt. — Commander of the Engineers and i'ioneers: 
Major General Schulz. 


Lieot. General v. Kirehbach. Chief of the Staff, Colonel v. d. E«ch. 





9th Inf. Div. 

17th Infantry Brig. 
Colonel V. Bothmer. 

Inf. Reg. No. 58. 
Inf. Reg. No. 59. 

Major General 
V. Sandrart. 

18th Infantry Brig. 
Major Gen. v. Voigts-Rhetz. 

King's Grenadier Reg. No. 7. 
Inf. Reg. No. 47. 


Jager Battalion No. 5, and Dragoon Reg. No. 4. 

10th Inf. Div. 

Major General 

V. Schmidt 

19th Infantry Brig. 

Colonel V. Henning auf 


Grenadier Reg. No. 6. 
Inf. Reg. No 46. 

20th Infantry Brig. 

Major General Walter v. 


Fusilier Reg. No. 37. 
Inf. Reg. No. 50. 

Dragoon Reg. No. 14. 

Regim|nt of Field Artillery No. 5, Pioneer Battalion No. 5, Train Bat- 
talion No. 5. 

Altogether 25 battalions, 8 sqaa^ong, 84 gam, beeidee pioneers and train. The Gorpa it 
reornlted in the diBtriots of Poien and Liegnita, and garriaone them. 



Cavalry General v. TUmpUfig, Chief of the Staff, Colonel v, Salviati. 




11th Inf. Div. 

Lieut. General 

V. Gordon. 

2l8t Infantry Brig. 
Major Gen. v. Malachowski. 

22nd Infantry Brig. 
Majo¥ Gen. v. Eckartsberg. 

Grenadier Reg. No. 10. 
Inf. Reg. No. 18. 

Fnsilier Reg. No. 38. 
Inf. Reg. No. 61. 

Jager Battalion No. 6, and Dragoon Reg. No. 8. 

12th Inf. Div. 

28rd Infantry Brig. 
Colonel Gilndell. 

Inf. Reg. 
Inf. Reg. 



Lieut. General 
V. Hoffmann. 

24th Infantry Brig. 
Major Genera] v. Fabeck. 

Dragoon Re 

Inf. Reg. 
Inf. Reg. 



!g. No. 15. 


Regiment of Field Artillery No. 6, Pioneer Battalion No. 6, Train Bat- 
talion No. 6. 

Altogether S5 baitnUone, 8 aquadroue, 84 gone, beaidee pioneert and train. T)ie Corpa ia 
reoruitad in the diatriota of Brealau and Oppeln and garriiona them. 


Lieutenant General v. Boae. Chief of the Staff, Major General Stein von 





2l8t Inf Div. 

41st Infantry Brig. 
Colonel v. Koblinski. 

Fusilier Reg. No. 34. 
Fusilier Reg. No. 80. 

Lieut. General 
v. Schachtmeyer. 

42nd Infantry Brig. 
Major General v. Thile. 

Inf. Reg. No. 82. 
Inf. Reg. No. 88. 

Jager Battalion No. 11, and Dragoon Reg. No. 6. 

22nd Inf. Div. 

48rd Inf. Brig. 
Colonel V. Kontzki. 

Inf. Reg. No. 32. 
Inf. Reg. No. 96. 

Lieut. Greneral 
v. Gersdorff. 

44th Infantry Brig. 
Major General v. Schkopp.i 

Inf. Reg. No. 88. 
Inf. Reg. No. 94. 

Hussar Reg. No. 13. 

.. ..1 — 

Regiment of Field Artillery N9. 11, Pioneer Battalion No. 11, Train Bat- 
talion No. 11. 


Altogether 26 battaliona, 8 squadrons, 84 girns, beeidei pioneers and train. The Corps 
is recruited in the prorinces of Hesse and Nassau , in Saxe - Weimar , Gobnrg-Gotha and 
Meiningen, and garrisons these t>l»oes. 





2nd Gav. Div. 

Lieat. General 

Connt zn Stolberg- 


4th Cav. Div. 

General of Cavalry 

Prince Albert of 


3rd Cavalry Brig. 
Major General v. Colomb. 

4th Cavalry Brig. 

Major General Baron v. 


5th Cavalry Bri^. 
Major General v. Banmbach. 

8th Cavalry Brig. 
Major General v. Hontheim. 

9th Cavalry Brig. 
Major General v. Bernhardi. 

10th Cavalry Brig. 
Major General v. Krosigk. 

Leib Cnirassier Reg. No. 1. 
• Uhlan Reg. No. 2. 

Ist Leib Hussar Reg. No. 1. 
BlUchers Hnssar R. No. 5. 

Hassar Reg. No. 4. 
Hnssar Reg. No. 6. 

Cuirassier Reg. No. 5. 
Uhlan Reg. No. 10. 

Uhlan Reg. No. 1. 
Uhlan Reg. No. 6. 

2nd Leib Hussar Reg. No. 2. 
Hussar Reg. No. 14. 

Altogether 48 squadrons, 24 guns. 


Infantry General Baron v. d. Tafm-R(Xt?isamhau8en. Chief of the Staff, 

Colonel Diehl. 


1st Division 

Lieut. General 

v. Stephan. 



1st Infantry Brig. 
Major General Dietl. 



1st Inf. Reg. 

2nd Jager Battalion. 

9th Jager Battalion. 

2nd Infantry Brig. 
Major General Orff. 

2nd Inf. Reg. 
11th Inf. Reg. 
4th Jager Battalion. 

Ist Cavalry Brig. • 

1st Cuirassier Reg. 

2nd Cuirassier Reg. 

3rd Light Hqrse Reg, 





2nd Division 

Lieut. General 

Count Pappenheim. 

3rd Infantry Brig. 
Major Gen. Schuhmacher. 

3rd Inf. Reg. 

12th Inf. Reg. 

Ist Jager Battalion. 

4th Infantry Brig. 
Major General Stranb. 

10th Inf. Reg. 

13th Inf. Reg. 

7th Jager Battalion. 

• 2nd Cavalry Brig. 
Major General v. Mayer. 

4th Light Horse Reg. 
Ut Uhlan Reg. 

1st Regiment of Artillery, and 1 Field Engineer Division. 

Altogether %9 battalions, 20 ■quadroni, 96 gna*. 


General of Infantry v. Hartmwm. Chief of the Staff, Colonel Baron v. 





5th Infantry Brig. 
Major General v. Schleich. 

6th inf. Reg. 
7th Inf. Reg. ' 
8th Jager Battolion. 

3rd Division 

Lieut. General v. 


6th Infantry Brig. 

Major General Joner- 


14th Inf. Reg. 

15th Inf. Reg. 

3rd Jager Battalion. 

3rd Cavalry Brig. 

Major General Baron v. 


1st Light Horse Reg. 

6th Light Horse Reg. 

2nd Uhlan Reg. 

4th Division 

7th Infantry Brig. 

Major General v. Ribeau- 


5th Inf. Reg. 

9th Inf. Reg. 
6th Jager Battalion. 
10th Jager Battalion. 

Lieut. General 
Connt V. Bothmer. 

8th Infantry Brig. 
Major General Maillinger. 

4th Inf. Reg. 

8th Inf. Reg. 

5th Jager Battalion. 


4th Cavalry Brig, 
Major General v. Tausch. 

2nd Light Horse Reg. 
5th Light Horse Reg. 

2nd Regiment of Artillery and 1 Field Engineer Division. 

Altogether 89 battaliona, 80 ■qaadroiu, 96 gune. 



Lieut. General v. Werder, Chief of the Staff, Lieut. Colonel v. Leszczynski. 





Royal Wurtemberg 


Lieut. General 

V. Obernitz. 

Chief of the Staff 

Colonel V. Bock. 

Ist Infantry Brig. 

Major General v. Reitzen- 


Ist Inf. Reg. 

tth Inf. Reg. 

2Bd Jager Battalion. 

2nd Infantry Brig. 
Major General v. StarklofT. 

2nd Inf. Reg. 

5th Inf. Reg. 

3rd Jager Battalion. 

3rd Infantry Brig* 
Colonel V. Hiigel. 

3rd Inf. Reg. 

8th Inf. Reg. 

1st Jager Battalion. 

Horse Division 

Major General Count v. 


Ist Horse Reg. 
2nd Horse Reg. 
3rd Horse Reg. 
4th Horse Reg. 

1 Field Artillery Regiment, 2 pioneer companies, 1 

Fieldjager squadron. 

The Wurtomberg Infuiiry RegimenU only numbered S battalione , therefore there were 
altogether lb battolione, 16 equadronB, 64 guns. 2 Wurtemberg regimente remained behind 
iu Ulm. 




(vrand Ducal 

Haden Divituon 

Lieut, General 

V. Beyer. 

Ist Infantry Brig. 

Lieut. General Baron v. 

Laroche du Jarry. 

1st Leibgrenadier Reg. 
2nd Grenadier Reg. 

2nd Infantry Brig. 

Major General Baron v. 


3rd Inf. Reg. 
4th Inf. Reg. 

3rd Infantry Brig. 
Mi^or General Keller. 

5th Inf. Reg. 
6th Inf. Reg. 

Cavalry Brig, 

Migor General Baron v. 

Laroche-Starkenfels . 

1st Leib-Dragoon Reg. 
Snd Dragoon Reg. 
3nl Dragoon Reg. 

Baden Field Artillery Regiment, detachments of Baden Pioneers and Train. 

AHofetber 18 battaUone. 1 i $n»«ditme, 54 guae, b«idee tilonean and train. 

«. Aflar Ike battle of W6ith IhtCoif* uity 

diteoNad. aiid bvm tliat IUm tha 





General of Infantry Vogel v, FtUkenstein. Chief of the Staff, Colonel Veit. 


General of Infantry the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg'Schwerin, Chief of 

the Staff, Colonel v. Krenski. 




17th Inf. Div. 

Lieut. General 

V. Schimmelmann. 

(Belonging to the 
IX. Corps.) 

33rd Infantry Brig. 

Major General Baron v. 


34th Infantry Brig. 
Colonel V. Manteutfel. 

Fusilier Reg. No 36. 
Infantry Reg. No. 76. 
Infantry Reg. No. 76. 

Mecklenb. Gren. R. No. 89. 

Mecklenb. Fusil. R. No. 90. 

Mecklenb. Jager Battalion 

No. 14. 

17th Cavalry Brig. 
Major General v. Ranch. 

1st Mecklenb. Dragoon R. 

No. 17. 
2nd Mecklenb. Dragoon R. 

No. 18. 
Uhlan Reg. No. 11. 

».2 Regiment of Field Artillery No. 9, Vg Pioneer Battalion No. 9, ^/j Train 

Battalion No. 9. 

Altogether 16 battalions. 18 squadrons, 48 guns. 

The DWision garrisons Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg, the SAth regiment is re- 
cruited in Magdeburg, the 7Ath and 7()th in Hansostttdten and Hanover, the lUh (Thlans 
in Brandenburg. 


Guard Landwchr 

Inf. Div. 

Lieut. General 

Baron v. Loen. 

1st Landw. Div. 
Major General- 
V. Treskow. 


Ist Guard Landwehr Brig. 
Colonel Girodz v. Gaudi. 


1st Guard Landwehr Reg. 
2nd Guard Landwehr Reg. 

Ind Guardiandwehr Bri^. i2st Gren. Guard Landw. H. 

Colonel V. Roehl. 

i2nd Fren. Guard Lnndw. R. 

1st Pom. Landwehr Brig. 

Colonel Baron v. Budden- 


2nd Pom. Landwehr Brig. 
Major General v. Avemann. 

1st comb. Pom. Landw. Reg. 
2nd comb. Pom. Landw. Reg. 

3rd comb. Pom. Landw. Reg. 
4th comb. Pom. Landw. Reg. 





2nd Landw. Div. 
Major General 
V. Selchow. . 

3rd comb. Landwehr 


Major General 


v. Senden. 

Ist Brandenburg Landwehr 


Colonel V. Amoldi. 

2nd Brandenburg Landwehr 


Colonel Ranisch. 

West Prussian Landw. Brig. 
Major General v. Ruville. 

Fosen Landwehr Brig. 
Colonel V. Gilsa. 

1st comb. Brandenburg 
Landwehr Reg. 

2nd comb. Brandenburg 
Landwehr Reg. 

3rd comb. Brandenburg 
Landwehr Reg. 

4th comb. Brandenburg 
Landwehr Reg. 

West Prussian comb. Land- 
wehr Reg. 

Niederschl. comb. Landwehr 

Ist comb. Pos. Landw. R. 
2nd comb. Pos. Landw. R. 

Baoh Landwehr Regiment of the Ouard nnmbered 3 battalions, each Regiment of the 
Line 4 battalions. 


Reserve Dragoon Reg. Nos. 1 and 3. 
Reserve Dragoon Reg. Nos. 2^ 3 and 5. 
Reserve Uhlan Reg. Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 5. 

Altogether 16 Reserve Cavalry Regiments were formed. 9 of these as above were allotted 
to the mobile Landwehr Divisions, the other 7 (2nd Reserve Dragoons, 1st, 4th and 6th 
Reserve Hussars, and 1st, 6th and 7tb Reserve Uhlans) were appointed to occupy fortresses. 


Reserve Foot divisions of the Guard and of the 11 Line Artillery Regi- 
ments, 3 batteries to each (18 guns). 

Of these batteries only 2 were allotted from each division to the mobile Landwehr 
Divisions, but the third was subdivided for the formation of 2 sortie batteries to each, and 
assigned to the garrisons of fortresses. 

Total of the mobile Landwehr-Di visions : 60 battalions, 30 squadrons, and 144 gnna. 

The first, second, and sixth Corps also remained behind in the country at the beginning 
of the war, and only joined their respective armies after the beginning of hostilities. 


Strength of the North German Arut Corps. 


9 Infantry Regiments, 1 Garde -Jagef and 1 Garde - Schntzen 
Battalion, 2 Regiments of Divisional Cavalry, 4 Batteries of Divisional 
Artillery, 1 Cavalry Division consisting of 8 Regiments with 3 Horse 
Batteries, finally 1 Foot detachment of the Artillery Corps. In addition 
to these 1 Battalion of Pioneers, 1 Battalion oC Train and 9 Munition 
columns. Total 29,000 Infantry, 4800 Horses and 90 Guns. 

The I., II., III., IV., v., VI., VII., X. and XI. Army Corps 
each consisted of: 8 Infantry Regiments, 1 Jager Battalion, 2 Regi- 
ments of Cavalry, 2 detachments of Foot Artillery, also a detachment 
of Foot Artillery yd 2 Horse Batteries from the Artillery Corps, 

1 Battalion of Pioneers, 1 Battalion of Train and 9 Munition columns. 
Total of each Army Corps: 25,000 Iirfantry, 1200 Horses and 
84 Guns. 

The VIII. Army Corps counted 1 additional Horse Battery, 
consequently it had 90 Guns. 

The IX. Army Corps consisted of the 18th Infantry Division 
and the Hessian (25th) Division. It numbered 8 Infantry Regiments, 
.3 Jager Battalions , 3 Regiments of Cavalry , 15 Batteries. Total 
23,000 Infantry, 1800 Horses and 90 Gmis. 

The XII. (Saxon) Army Corps numbered 9 Infantry Regiments, 

2 Jager Battalions , 2 Horse Regiments and 2 detachments of Foot 
Artillery. It had further a Cavalry and Artillery reserve : 4 Regi- 
ments of Cavalry, 2 Horse Batteries, 2 detachments of Foot Artillery 
and in addition to these 1 Battalion of Pioneers, 1 Battalion of Train, 
and 9 Munition columns. Total 29,000 Infantry, 3600 Horses and 
96 Guns. 

The first Cavalry Division consisted of 24 Squadrons and 1 Horse 
Battery; tiie second numbered 24 Squadrons, 2 Horoe Batteriesr; the 
third, 16 Squadrons, 1 Horse Battery; the fourth, 24 Squadrons, 2 
Horse Batteries; the fifth, 36 Squadrons, 2 Horse Battieries ; the sixth, 
20 Squadrons, 1 Horse Battery. The first and third were assigned 

48 ' 

to the I. Anny, the fifth and sixtli to the II. Anny, the second and 
fourth to the III. Army. • 

The 17111 DiviMon « 13,000 Infantry, 1800 HorBes and 36 
Guns, as well as 4 Landwehr Divisions, 3 of which consisted of 9600 
Infantry, 1 of 12,000 Infantry, with 600 Horses to each, and 18 Guns 
remained behind for coast defences. 

In addition to these, 4 Infantry Regiments remained behind to 
garrison the fortresses of Mayence and Rastatt, and 1 Infantry Regi- 
ment was left at Cologne, 1 at Coblentz and 1 at Saarlouis, none of 
which have been included in the order of battle at the commen^^ement 
of the war. 

The mobilised Field Army of the North German Con- 
federation^ reckoning the Battalions at 1000 men and the Cavalry 
Regiments at 600 Horses, consisted of 382,000 Infantry, 48,000 
Horses and 1218 Guns without including the Landwehr. 

The ttnited capitation of combatants in the North German Field 
Army, exclusive of the Landwehr, was therefore about 550,000 men. 

The Landwehr numbered 198,000 combatants. 

The Army of the North German Confederation , including the 
Landwehr amounted in all to about 750,000 men. 

The Bavarian Army numbered 16 Regiments of Infantry and 
10 Jager Battalions ; 10 Regiments of Cavalry, 32 Field Batteries of 
Artillery, including 4 Batteries of Horse Artillery, besides 1 Regiment 
of Engineers and 4 Companies of Train. Its strength without 
reckoning the Landwehr and ^ the troops for replacing casualties 
amounted to 58,000 Infantry, 5800 Horses and 192 Guns. 

The fVurtemberg Army consisted of 8 Regiments of Infantry, 
3 Jager Battalions, 4 Regiments of Cavaby, 9 Field Batteries of 
Artillery, besides 2 Companies of Pioneers and a detachment of Train. 
Its strength, exclusive of the Landwehr and reinforcing troops, was 
16,000 Infantry, 2400 Horses and 54 Guns. 

The Baden Army numbered 6 Regiments of Infantry, 3 Regi- 
ments of Cavalry, 9 Field Batteries of Artillery, besides 2 Companies 
of Pioneers and 1 detachment of Train. Its strength, exclnsive of the 
Landwehr and reinforcing troops, was 10,600 Infantry, 2800 Horace 
and 54 Guns. 


The wliole South Oerman Field Army is therefore reckoned at : 

Infantry 84,600 Men. 
Cavalry 9000 Horses 

Artillery 300 Guns 

i. e. an united capitation of over 100,000 Combatants. 

The total strength of the German Field Army at the 
beginning of the war amounted therefore to about 850,000 

Until the concentration of these Armies was accomplished in the 
last days of July, the weak detachments upon tlie extreme frontier 
were entirely without reserves, witli the charge of making the enemy 
imagine that they were in considerable masses. They succeeded in 
this so well by bold attacks, by marching hither and thither, even by 
disguises which made them appear to the enemy like new kinds of 
troops, that the accounts in the French newspapers of the German 
forces in the Palatinate and Rhine provinces , raised their strength 
to more than 200,000 men, and the French Corps were also so 
completely deceived that they would not risk an attack. A mixed 
Baden Corps composed of the three arms roused the belief, at the 
same time, that South Germany was strongly occupied, by continually 
marching backwards and forwards during the whole time and showing 
itself at different points on the Baden Riiine frontier. 

The following are some of the smaller Fights which took place 
with the French outposts, without reckoning the raids which were 
of daily occurrence. 

On the 19th of July, an encounter between French Chasseurs 
d'Afrique who had passed the frontier at Saarbrucken and Prussian 

On the 21st of July, likeVvise at Saarbrtlcken upon French 
territory, a skirmish between a part of the HohenzoUern Fusilier 
Regiment No. 40 and Fi*ench troops. 

On the 24th of July, the enemy endeavoured with one battalion 
to take possession of the bridge of fVehrden^ it was however forced 
to retreat by a battalion sent out from Saarlouis and a detachment of 
Uhlans. On the same day there was a skirmish at Gersweiler near 
SaarbrUcken when a company of the 8th Rhinish Infantry Regiment 


Nr. 70 took the cuBtom house at Sckrecklingenj and Uhlans of the 
7th ]Regiment blew up a viaduct at the railway junction of Saar- 
gemfind and Hagenau. 

On the 24th of July, French Infantry were repulsed by Prussian 
Uhlans and Pioneers together with Bavarian Jagers at the bridge of 
Rheinkeim on the Blies, to the north-east of SaargemUnd, *and a 
recognisance of the country round Hagenau was made by the Wurtem- 
berg staff officer, Count Zeppelin with three Baden officers. 

On the 27th of July three companies of French Infantry and 80 
men of the Cavalry made an attack at Vdlklingen to the west of 
Saarbrticken and were repulsed. 

On the 29th of July, firing took place between Bavarian Jagers 
and French Cavalry at Schweyen near Neuhoiiibach in the Palatinate. 

On the 30th of July a French column of Infantry with Artillery 
made an attack upon Saarbrticken without success. 

On this day however, the German Armies were already about to 
advance. Prince Frederick Charles removed his head-quai'ters from 
Mayence to the westward, the Crown Prince of Prussia repaired to 
Speyer and General von Steinmetz directed his columns from the 
Rhine on to the line Trier-Saarlouis-Saarbrttcken. From this moment 
the danger of a French invasion was averted, and the superiority of 
the strategical position on the other side, began clearly to show itself. 

The constantly increasing attempts made by the French to 
procure * single advantageous positions, chiefly in the country about 
Saarbrticken, as well as to induce the Germans to develope their 
strength, bore the character of indecision and aimlessness , until at 
last upon the 2nd of August, the attack of the whole of FrossartTs 
Corps upon Saarbrttcken, proved that a general combined offensive 
movement no longer existed in the French war plan. 

This attack, in the presence of the Emperor and the Prince 
Imperial, had apparently the sole object of producing a victory for 
the impatient French people, with which the Imperial name should 
be associated. 

For after the battalion of the Hohenzollern Fusilier Regiment, 
which held Saarbrticken all alone for an hour, had been compelled to 
retreat from the town, and it had been occupied by Frossard's Corps^ 


the conqueror made no use of his advantages, but was satisfied with 
holding a defensive position opposite the line of the Saar, until this 
strong position, together with the apparent advantages gained on the 
2nd, was torn from him on the 6th of August, by the Prussian Corps 
which had then arrived. 

The helplessness of the French chief command appears all the 
clearer, if one considers the grand preparations which preceded this 
theatrical manoeuvre. 

Frossard's Corps had been stationed at St. Avoid since the 20th 
of July. Ladmiraulfs Corps had been moved forward from Thion- 
ville towards Bouzonville on the Nied, for the support of* his left 
flank, Bazaine's Corps to Forbach for the support of his centre, and 
Lapassef 8 Brigade from the 5th Corps, occupied Saargemflnd in order 
to cover Frossard's right 'flank. Over 100,000 men Were brought 
together in order to assist at the Prince Imperiars baptism of fire. 

Upon the same day an aimless demonstration wag also made at 
Rheinheim to the east of Saargemtind, by the advance of a strong 
French column. The column moved back again after a vigorous fire 
upon German patrols; 

Thus the energetic, powerful advance of the numerically superior 
German Armies found itself opposed by an enemy, inferior in numbers, 
and still with no decided aim. 



The concentrated offensive movement of the German Armies 

in the beginnino of august. 

On the 2nd of August King fVilUam of Prussia, accompanied by 
his chief of 'the Staff, Baron von Moltke, amved in the head-quarters 
&t Mayence and took command of the united German armies which 
were approaching the French frontier, with their leading divisions 
extending over a front from Trier to Landau. 

The army of the left wing, the Third Army, under the command 
of the Crown Prince of Prussia was appointed to advance as far as 
the Lauter on the 5th of August, aiid to cross it with the advanced 
troops. For this purpose the Crown Prince had to pass through 
the Bienwald by four roads, and was commanded to drive back the 
enemy wherever he might be met. 

Marshal Mac Mahon, against whose strategical position this 
advance of an army of 160,000 men was du'ected, had liis corps 
scattered about like- all the rest of the French arpiy. On the 25th 
of July, his 1st Division (Ducrot) was to the eastward of Woerth, the 
2nd (Douay) at Hagenau, the 3rd and 4th (Raoul and de Lartigue) 
in Strasburg. The cavalry were placed in front, de Septeuil's Brigade 
in Sulz, de Nansouty^s in Selz, covering the whole space between the 
Vosges and the Rhine, and Michel's Cuirassier Brigade in reserve. 
The Marshal had, in a peculiar manner,' attached single infantry 
battalions to this cavalry with the view of supporting it. By this 
means he robbed the cavalry. of all power of moving. 

On the 2nd of August he gave General Douay the command to 
occupy Weissenburg, in order to cover his right flank more securely 
during his intended march towards Bitsch. 


After having carried out the order^ this General heard on the 
evening of the 3th of August/ of the approach of the third German 
army, and communicated the intelligence to General Ducrot who was 
stationed atWoerth, and to whom the Marshal had given the command 
of the Ist and 2nd Divisions, contingently. 

General Ducrot imparted to him, in the name of the Marshal, the 
strict command to give battle. 

For the 4th of August the following disposition was given out for 
the German Corps. 

^The advanced guard, Bothmer's Division from Hartmann's Bava- 
rian Corps, to move off fi*om its bivouac at § o'clock a. m. in the 
direction of Weissenburg, and to endeavour to take possession of 
the town. To secure its right flank by sending a detachment through 
Bellenbom towards the Bobenthal. The remainder of the Corps, 
Walther's Division, to move off from its bivouac at 4 o'clock a. m., 
and march to Ober-Otterbach going roun^ Landau through Impflingen 
and Bergzabem. 

' "The Cavalry Division to concentrate at 6 o'clock a. m. on the 
south of Mersheim, and to march by Insheim, Rohrbach, Billig- 
heim, Barbelroth, Kappellen as far as the Otterbach, 4000 paces to 
the west of Ober-Otterbach. 

"The V. Prussian Corps to move off from its bivouac at Billig- 
heim at 4 o'clock a. m., and to march through Barbelroth and Nieder- 
Otterbach upon Gross - Steinfeld and Kapsweyer. It was to form a 
special advanced guard, which would cross the Lauter at St. Remy and 
Waghslusel, and place out-posts upon the heights on the opposite side. 

"The XL. Corps to move off at 4 o'clock a. nu from Rohrbach 
and to march by Steinweiler, Winden, Scheldt through the Bienwald 
upon the Bienwaldshtitte. It was to form a special advanced guard 
which would cross the Lauter and place out-posts upon the heights on 
the other side. 

"Werder^s Corps to march by the high road towards Lauterburg, 
to endeavour to take possession of the place, and to place out-posts 
upon the opposite shore. « 

"Von der Tann's Corps to move off from its bivouac at 


4 o'clock a. m,y and to march by the high road through Siilzheim 
to Langenkandely to the west of which place it would bivouac. 

"The head-quarters would be previously removed to Nieder- 

The fVeisienburg lines (v. ii^ap), for the capture of which these 
dispositions were made, oflfered military hindrances, chiefly in the 
'ancient fortress of Weissenburg, and in the entrenchments erected in 
eai'lier times along the Lauter. These fortifications were again brought 
into use the last time the frontier was occupied, and had been aug- 
mented by artificial strengthening of the Geisberg, a position naturally 
difficult to assault. 

The whole elevation rising about 800 feet, with its north-eastern 
slopes falling to the Lauter, presented peculiar disadvantages to the 
assailants crossing, not only from its lying behind the river and 
offering good positions for the Artillery, but also from its being 
especially favourable for the fire of riflemen from behind the stone 
walls enclosing the vineyards. 

General Douay^ reinforced by the 74th Line Regiment, the 3rd 
Hussars, and the 11th Chasseurs acheval, thus having a force* of 
16 Battalions, 8 Squadrons and 4 Batteries including 1 Mitrailleuse 
battery, occupied Weissenburg with 1 battalion of the Ist Regiment 
of Algerian Tirailleurs and 1 battalion of the 74th Regiment, and had 
barricaded the gates of the town. Upon the southern heights he had 
posted 2 battalions and 1 battery, and with the main body of his 
Division he strongly held the Geisberg. 

The morning of the 4th of August was dull and rainy. 

The Crown Prince left Landau with his staff and suite at 
5. 15 o'clock a. m. On his arrival upon the heights to the eastward 
of Schweigen at about 9. 15 o'clock a. m., the head of Bothmer's 
advanced guard had come up in front of Weissenburg and the first 
shots fell. The place showed itself completely prepared for defence, 
the advanced guard deployed its 3 battalions, the regiment of light 
cavalry and 1 battery of artillery and opened fire, in order to await 
the arrival of the remaining columns. 

In consequence of the canqpnade fires very soon broke out in two 
places in the town. ... 


Meanwhile the advanced guard of the V. Corps, the 17th Infantry 
Brigade, after having crossed the Lauter, debouched at St. Remy and 
Wagh&usel, at a quarter to 10 o'clock, and formed for attack upon the 
opposite heights, where they received a vigorous cannonade at 
10 o'clock a. m. 

An hour later, the 18th Brigade began to develope itself upon 
the right flank of the 17th, at 11 .30 o'clock a. m. it took Altenstadt, 
and debouched upon the south bank of the Lauter for the purpose of 
going forward to attack the Geisberg. 

Up to this moment Bothmer's Division had confined itself to a 
cannonade against Weissenburg, now however, the 9th Division 
having crossed the Lauter, it was also possible to make an attack 
upon the town from the south east; 2 battalions of the 47th Regiment, 
18th Brigade, and 1 battalion of the 58th Regiment, 17th Brigade, 
wei*e sent out for this purpose from Altenstadt, on to the south bank of 
the Lauter, and at 12 o'clock the general storming of Weissenburg 

The barricaded gates of the town were broken open by 
artillery. The Prussian and Bavarian battalions, attacking simul- 
taneously, took the entrance at the first assault. An obstinate fight 
then developed itself in the town, which ended in the gamson being 
taken prisoners. 

The southern height of fVeissenburg was assaulted at the 
same time. 

At 11 o'clock the heads of the XI. Corps arrived on the left, 
near the 17th Brigade of the V. Corps. General von Bose had* 
marched through the Bienwald and crossed the Lauter without meet- 
ing with opposition, and had then, in accordance with the orders 
given to him, continued the advance by Schleithal in the direction of 
Ingolsheim. Debouching upon Schleithal at 11 o'clock, the heads of 
the corps were immediately directed towards the Geisberg. 

Aftier a vigorous artillery fight, carried on by the V. Corps, in 
which the Artillery Corps also shared, the 18th Infantry Brigade 
advanced at 12. 15 o'clock from Altenstadt, and the 41st Brigade of 
the XL Corps from Schleithal, thus marching in a westerly direction for 
a concentrated attack upon the Geisberg. 

The appearance of the 41st Brigade had already induced the 


enemy to throw back his left flank. The line of his front now 
corresponded exactly with the configuration of the Geisberg. Swarms 
of riflemen carried on a devastating fire from the vineyards upon the 
advancing columns, in which the superiority of the Chassepot rifle, in 
percussion strength at long ranges, was for the first time clearly 

The mitrailleuse battery opposed to Prussian artillery, did not 
answer the expectations which the French had placed on this newly 
introduced arm. Three shots only could be delivered, before a shell 
striking in the midst of the battery, produced such destruction among 
the serving troops, that it had to be withdrawn. 

The Prussian Infantry advanced in columns up the steep height, 
with incomparable calmness and bravery, in spite of the great 
difficulties of the ground and the murderous fire. The steady move- 
ment of the battalions never wavered for an instant. 

Amid gi-eat losses, in which the King's Grenadiers, at the head, 
especially suffered, the outer premises were taken atl2. 30 o'clock, 
and at 1 o'clock, the castle^ lying behind, in the first assault. 

At 1. 30 o'clock p.m., the Grown Prince rode through Altenstadt 
on to the Geisberg heights. 

With the loss of this hill the French position was deprived of 
its principal point cfappui. The French certainly endeavoured to 
make another offensive attack at 1. 30 o'clock, but this fruitless effort 
may only have been to cover the retreat, which was commenced, in 
three columns, towards the south-west, pursued by the Artillery fire of 
I the two Prussian Corps, and from 2 o'clock on, by the two Cavalry 
Regiments of the 9th and 10th Divisions. Over 1000 unwounded 
prisoners, amongst whom were about 30 officers, fell into the hands of 
the conquerors, also a gun taken from the 5th Jager Battalion, and the 
whole camp equipment and baggage of the 2nd Division. General 
Douay had fallen, his Division had lost about 1200 men in killed 
and wounded. 

The loss of the Germans in killed and wounded was also great, 
it may perhaps have surpassed that of the French. 

All the German troops which had been in the battle moved forward 
as far as the heights to the south of the Lauter and placed out-posts. 
Werder's Corps, which had not beeft engaged, had occupied Lauter- 


burg, pushed forward one Brigade towards Selz and stationed ont« 
posts in connection with those of the XI. Corps. 

In winning this battle, besides the moral effect upon the two 
armies, the possession of the important roads leaduig to Strasbnrg and 
Bitsch was obtained. Consequently the right flank of the French 
position was placed in imminent danger; Alsace, unproteq^d, lay 
open to the third army, and the isolation of Strasburg could now 
hardly bei averted. 

The valley of the Rhine, extending open and free from the south 
of Weissenburg to Strasburg, and thence beyond, is bounded on the 
west by the Vosges, which rise from the Weissenburg heights, now 
taken by the third army. , 

It now became necessary that the French Army, whose right 
wing had lost as it were the key of their position, should endeavour 
above all things to hold the passages of the Vosges, unless they al- 
ready wished to change the whole strategical front, and move back 
upon the line of tlie Moselle. 

The flank of the main body of the French Army was separated 
from the assailants by the Vosges. Mac Mahon's task should be to 
defend this chain to the utmost, for which object all his strength must 
be employed, and the Marshal determined to accomplish this task 
by a defensive battle near Woerth. 

Upon the other side, the Crown Princess Army moved off on the 
morning after the victorious fight, in order to follow the same direction 
in which it had hitherto advanced. This march direction must 
infallibly lead on to the flank and rear of the French position. It 
offered the chance of completely rolling up this position, unless the 
French Army at once commenced a general retreat. 

The Crown Prince's Army, being numerically superior to each 
single French Corps, and even to two or three of them, was more 
than a match for any possible concentration of the enemy to the 
front. It was foreseen that the French aimy could only offer sufficient 
resistance to the Crown Prince by a concentration towards the rear, 
consequently upon the left flank. Without however taking into con- 
sideration the French confidence of victory, which this defensive 
movement did not revoke, such an operation on the part of the enemy 
would have had the disadvantage of giving full time to the first 


and second Gennan armieB^ to join in the action on their side, and by 
a simple advance, to unite with the third Army. 

A combined operation on the part of the French Army could not, 
however, be an*anged. As already mentioned, Marshal Mac Mahon 
threw himself alone , against the enemy and on the 5th of August 
occupied a favourable position along the Sauerbachy upon the easteni 
slopes of the Vosges (v. map of the battle of Woerth). This position 
was fitly chosen for the defensive, whilst offering at the same time 
favourable opportunities for the offensive. 

It was formed by the valley of the Sauer^ 800 paces wide, 
running from north to south, whose western bank, bordered by steep 
and partly wooded heights, indicated the lyitural front of the French 
Army. The village of Elsashausen, forming by its position on a steep 
hill a kind of retired bastion, was the key of the whole position, to 
which the village of Froschweiler was a favourable point dappui. 
The flanks were protected by the villages of Morsbronn and Eberbach 
in the south, Neuweiler in the north, as well as by deep enfrench- 
ments most favourably placed. At the foot of the whole position 
about one and a half hours *") wide, the highroad leading from 
Hagenau to Woerth upon an embankment formed a first rate line of 
communication, whilst its elevation above the wide meadow valley of 
the Sauer could also be most advantageously used as the first line of 
defence, and was so used. The eastern slopes, partly planted with 
vines, which greatly impeded the movement of the Gernvan troops, 
fall down steeply towards the Sauer, and are commanded from the 
opposite shore. The little stream itself, only about 10 paces wide, 
has such steep banks, and after the continued rain was so much 
swollen, that the French commander in chief may probably have 
considered it impossible to wade through. The only passages 
across this mountain stream, were at the Bruchmtihle, at Spachbach 
and Woerth. 

It is, however, a great question whether the Marshal acted 
wisely, in here placing himself in the way of the Crown Prince's force, 
although the position in. itself was very strong, and could be 
advantageously defended. He must be prepared to resist an army 

*) between 4 and 6 English miles. 


of much greater strength and must bear in mind that if the 
Corps had the misfortune of being completely routed, the 
passage through the Vosges would be quite open to the German 
Army. The Marshal staked all his chances upon one throw, by 
placing his Corps in position at Woei'th, whilst had he declined one 
great battle, and by distributing his forces, occupied all the most 
important defiles of these bamer-like mountains, he would probably 
have succeeded in making a longer and more obstinate resistance in 
defence of the Vosges. 

On the day that Douay's Division was beaten at Weissenburg, 
Mac Mahon had thi-ee Divisions still at his disposal, concentrated to 
the east of Reichshofen. He had been apprised of the attack upon 
Weissenbui^g after he had sent an order by telegraph to the commandant 
of the 7th Corps (General Douay), which was provisionally under his 
command, to dispatch Conseil-Dumesnil's Division for his support. 
On the night of the 4th of August, he received the news of the defeat, 
and on the morning of the next day he made preparations to deliver 
a battle in the position of Woeiih and Gunstett, as he could not doubt 
that the Crown Princess Army would advance towards Hagenau by 
the roads commanded from here. 

In a tactical point of view this position was , without doubt, 
excellently chosen. But, even reckoning upon Couseil-DumesniFs 
Division and Douay's beaten Division, the Marshal could not assume 
that he would be able to bring together more than 50,000 men, con- 
sequently his plan was very rash, and testifies' to the want of a 
correct estimation of his adversary, which was so frequently to be 
observed in this war. 

The firat idea was to occupy the plateau of Gmistett with 
one Division and the heights upon the right (west) bank of the Sauer 
with the main body; as, however, this position would have been 
greatly extended in proportion to the strength of the troops, the 
Marshal confined himself to the occupation of the latter entrenched 
position, and made the following disposition: the 1st Division near 
Langensulzbach, the 3rd near Woei*th, the 4th upon the right flank 
at Elsashausen, the Division retiring from Weissenburg to form the 
Reserve of the centre, the Reserve Artillery to form up between 
Froschweiler and Elsashausen, the numerous Cavalry consisting of 


BonnemaiD^s Cuirassier Division , Michel's and SepteniFs Brigades to 
the plain in rear of the centre ^nd right wing, and he then awaited the 
arrival of Conseil-Dumesnirs Division to reinforce the right wing. 

This Division was delayed although it still came up in time for the 
battle. On the 4th, upon the erroneous announcement of a concentra- 
tion of troops at Ldrrach in the Black Forest, it had left its station 
at Colmar to go to Mllhlhausen, to which place Li^bert*8 2nd Division 
of the 7th Corps was also directed, whilst the 3rd, Dumonfs, was 
still being formed in Lyons. 

Conseil-DumesnlFs Division had scarcely left; the railway at 
Mfihlhausen when it was again embarked in the evening between 8 
and 10 o'clock, and arrived at Hagenau at 2 o'clock on the morning 
of the 5th of August, from whence it took the route towards Reichs- 
hofen. There it arrived upon the evening of the 5th, and was formed 
up in rear of Lartigue's Division. The Artillery belonging to it, which 
was upon the march from Colmar to Mfihlhauseu on the 4th August, 
was at Ensisheim when it received a counter order. On the 5th it 
marched back to Colmar where it was embarked on the railway in 
the evening. The 2nd Division, now commanded by General Pelld, 
which had retired from Weissenburg to Hagenau, an*ived from thence 
on the evening of the 5th, by railway, and was formed up in reserve. 

At the same time that the plateau of Gunstett was abandoned, at 
11 o'clock a. m. on the 5th of August, the Marshal issued an order 
that all the bridges over the Sauer, between Woerth and the Bruch- 
mfthle, were to be destroyed; which proves that he intended merely to 
deliver a defensive fight. An hour later, however, when the heads 
of the German advanced guard already showed themselves upon the 
left bank, he recalled the order, in order to keep the possibility 
of an offensive movement, yet at that time he was carefully occupied 
with the lines of retreat, he obtained detailed information about them 
from engineer officers acquainted with the country, and issued the 
necessary instructions for a retreat, to which he added the remark, 
that they would have to deal with considerable forces, and a power- 
ful Artillery. 

A dispatch from the Emperor however, which aiTived at 8. 30 
o'clock p. m. announcing that the 5th Corps, de Failly's, was placed 
at his disposal, changed this aspect of the military situation. 


The Marshal immediately Bent a telegram to General de Failly, 
the tenor of which was: ^The Emperor places your Corps at my 
disposal^ endeavour to join me as soon as possible.'' — 

The Marshal was so delighted at this unexpected reinforce- 
ment and had such confidence in the strength of the position he 
had chosen, that he exclaimed joyfully ^Messieurs les Prussiens 
je vous tiens!^^ — 

On the 6th of August the Crown Princess Army was moved 
forward on the line of the Selz, the V. and XI. Prussian Corps 
in the centre on the road to Hagenau, the two Bavarian Corps 
on their right, the Wurtemberg and Baden Divisions on their left 
flank, the Cavalry Division in reserve. 

During the night of the 5th of August, the II. Bavarian Corps 
bivouacked at Lembach, the I. Bavarian Corps at Ingolsheim, the 
V. Corps at Preuschdorf, the XI. at Sulz, von Werder's Corps at 
Aschbach and the Cavalry Division at Schonenburg. The Baden 
troops, which were not engaged in this battle, were stationed mote 
to the south, at Buhl. The head-quarters were at Sulz. Advanced 
posts were stationed along the Sauer towards the south and to the 
east of Woerth. 

The Croum Prince had issued no dispositions for the 
attack on the 6th of August y as it was , not the intention to 
give battle upon that day. On tlie contrary, only a narrower 
concentration towards the front had been commanded, in order to 
make a complete approach, with all the Corps together, upon the 
French position, before attacking it. 

The Wurtemberg Division was to advance from Aschbach to 
Hohweiler and Reimerswiller, the XL Corps from Sulz to Hdlsch- 
loch, whilst the V. Corps was to remain stationary, fronting the 
Sauer, the I. Bavarian Corps was drawn near Preuschdorf towards 
the Centre, the Cavalry Division at Sch5nenburg, and the head- 
quarters in Sulz, would remain there. 

By day break, however, whilst the Corps which had to 
change their positions had Just begun to move^ a small 
skirmish took place between the out-posts, of both sides, along 
the Sauer. 


HartmanrCs Bavarian Corpis was on the extreme right flank, 
and Bothmer's Division of it encountered the advanced troops of 
Ducroi's Division. The fight was hot and earnest, the Bavarians 
followed up the advantage which they had gained beyond Lembach 
as far as Langensubsbach. 

Upon General Ducrof s announcement of the Bavarians' attack, 
Marshal Mac Mahon repaired, at about 7 o'clock a. m., to his left 
flank for the purpose of observation. He declared that the 
enemy could not yet be sufficiently far advanced to make a real 
attack; it was evidently nothing more than a demonstration, and 
he only expected the battle on the following day. 

Thus the Marshal, judging from the distance between 
Weissenburg and Woerth, and the German dispositions based there- 
on, calculated quite correctly. But he had not taken into account 
the extraordinary warlike ardour and enthusiasm of the German 
officers and soldiers, which led to the victoiy 24 hours sooner 
than originally intended by their commander in chief. 

The Marshal therefore, during the first hours of the battle, 
planned out instructions for General de Failly, founded upon the 
supposition that a battle would take place on the 7th of August. 

An officer of the engineers, well acquainted with the country, 
was charged with the delivery of this dispatch. He left Frosch- 
weiler at 9. 30 o'clock, and selected for his road a neighbouring 
valley behind Reichshofen; for the nearest way, the valley of 
Niederbronn was considered endangered by German scouring 
pati'ols. He reached Bitsch at about 1 o'clock. General de Failly, 
however, did not afibrd the Marshal the requisite support, although 
he had received the order to march to Woerth, the previous evening at 
9 o'clock. His conduct offers a striking example of the want of 
a single Direction in the French Army, and of the defectiveness 
of a principle, which allowed great independence to the individual 
corps leaders, and the initiative in situations of the greatest moment 
and of entirely general importance. 

Of the 5th Corps, the 1st Division (Goze's), and Maussion's Brigade 
of the 2nd Division (Labadie's) were stationed about 2 kilometres*) 

*) 1 English mile. 


to the west of Bitsch, and guarded the d^bouch^s of the roads 
from Zweibrflcken and Saargemfind. The 1st Brigade, Lapassefs, 
of ihe 2nd Division, Labadie^s, occupied the latter town. Upon 
General de Failly's receipt of Mac Mahon's dispatch, instead of 
immediately commencing the march with his whole Army Corps, 
excepting the detachments of observation necessary for keeping up 
the connection with the 1st Army Corps, he contented himself with 
issuing an order for the march of the 3rd Division on the follow- 
ing day. 

General Guyot de Lespart consequently commenced the march 
early on the 6th of August, but a few hours after, the com- 
mandant of the Corps sent him a counter order, commanding him 
to halt, in the apprehension that he would himself be attacked 
from Zweibrticken. At this time the Division was at Philippsburg, 
at most 15 kilometres*) from the field of battle. 

When the engineer ofQcer, sent from the Marshal, amved at 
Bitsch at 1 o'clock, and delivered his dispatch, de Failly declared 
that it would be impossible to carrry out the order, his Corps 
would be scattered, he dared not abandon Saargemttnd, he must 
keep a Division with the reserve Artillery in Bitsch, and had many 
other arguments to justify his inactivity. Finally, however, upon 
its being represented to him, how near Guyot de Lespart's Division 
was to the field of battle, he decided to give him the order to 
advance, and it arrived upon the field of battle in the course of 
the afternoon, for the most part by railway. 

Major General fValther von Montbary commanding the 
out-posts of the German V. Corps was, like General Bothmer on 
the right fiank, involved in a fight in the centre. He could not 
help inferring from the movements of the enemy, that he was 
carrying out a retreat, and therefore ordered a reconnaissance to 
be made. A battalion of the Westphalian Fusilier Regiment Nr. 37 
was moved forward against Woerth, under cover of the fire of the 
out-post batteries, in order to make the enemy unfold his forces, 
and to gain an insight into his comparative strength. This battalion 

*) 9 English miles. 


came upon a front which wag very strongly occupied, and was 
consequently, drawn into a vigorous fight. 

General von Kirchback, commanding the V. Corps, however, 
issued an order at 8 o'clock, to break off the fight, in pursuance 
of the dispositions made for this day by the commander in chief. 

But from this point a lively cannonade was now audible upon 
the right flank,, caused by the fight of the 11. Bavarian Corps, 
whilst on the left flank the XI. Corps was observed to be engaged 
with the enemy. In consequence of this, the fight was also 
continued here at Woerth. By breaking it off, the adjacent Corps 
would have been isolated, and their flanks endangered. 

The thunder of cannon upon the right, had been perceived by 
Major General von Schachtmeyer^ who was with the advanced 
guard of the XI. Coi'ps, as early as 7 o'clock, at Holschloch. 
Soon after, the firing ceased for a short time, and the General 
ordered his Division, the 2l8t, to move into bivouac at the place 
named, in accordance with the previously issued dispositions. From 
here, tlie French camp could be seen upon the heights to the west 
of Gunstett, on the opposite side of the Sauer. Gunstett itself was 
occupied by 2 companies and 2 squadrons of the V. Corps. The 
cannonade at Woerth now began afresh, and became more violent 
every moment. General Schachtmeyer therefore formed his ad- 
vanced guard at the western egress of the Niederwald (it was about 
8 o'clock, when the 87th Regiment, the first corps, debouched from 
the Niederwald w>tli Gunstett in its front), sent a battalion to 
reinforce the detachment at Gunstett, and directed the artillery of 
the main body to the same place, for which purpose it would have 
to pass the Niederwald. 

These preliminary movements had hardly been carried out 
when a French battery showed itself in position opposite, and 
French columns of Infantry were also observed, marching on 

Immediately after the advanced guard had developed, the 4 
batteries formed upon tlie height to the north-west of Gunstett 
and opened fire; the order being given to hold Gunstett, and the 
line east of the Sauer. 


Thus ai 9 o^cloek^ the fight had begun along the whole 
line^ although the greater part of the Corps were still far in 
rear, Aj^ yet the I. Bavarian Corps had not been engaged at 
ally of the V. Corps only the advanced troops, the 22nd Division 
of the XI. Corps had just reached Surburg, and General von Werder's 
Corps had only arrived at Reimerswiller. 

The V. Corps had been engaged, since soon after 8 o'clock, 
in a serious attack upon the position at Woerth. After the Artillery 
of the advanced guard had again opened fire, the Artillery Corps 
was also ordered to form up on the heights to the east of Woerth. 
Soon after, the 10th Infantry Division was formed up in the first 
line, and the 9th Infantry Division in the second line, both of 
them « cheval of the road from Preuschdorf to Woerth. 

At 10 o'clock all the 14 Batteries of the Coi'ps had opened 
fire, and an hour later, when the superiority of this Artillery over 
that of the French had become evident, and the XL Corps had 
also made progress. General von Eirchbach commanded the 
advanced guard to take Woerth, and establish itself upon the hills 
on tlie other side. 

In the XL Corps, the 22nd Division which had made pre- 
parations to bivouac at Surburg, was apprised of the state of affairs 
by the thunder of cannon, and at the same time by a report from 
the 21st Division, the General * commanding, von Bose^ appearing 
with it. The Division immediatefly commenced to march on Gun- 
stetty the 43rd Infantry Brigade, and the Artillery in front, then the 
44th Infantry Brigade, both taking the route round the southern 
corner of the Niederwald. The 6th Thtiringian Infantry Regiment 
Nr. 95, and the Artillery were afterwards directed to the north of 
Gunstett, and the 2nd Thtiringian Infantry Regiment No. 32 to the 
south of the village, on the Sauerbach. 

General von Werder's Corps received intelligence that the 
battle had begun, at 11 o'clock The General at once ordered 
Count Scheler's Brigade of Cavalry and Starkloff's Infantry Brigade 
(whose baggage was left behind)^^ from the Wurtemberg Division, 
under Lieutenant General von Obemitz, with the Artillery belong- 
ing to it, to move off from Reimerswiller, by Surburg, towards Gun- 
stett. All the remainder waited in bivouac ready to march off. 


In the meanwhile a change had taken place upon the 
right flank, the effects of which extended as far as the centre. 

Shortly after the battle bad begun, on receiving 'the iqtelligeBce 
that the Artillery of the V. Corps was to be brought into action 
upon the heights against Woerth, as before mentioned, the Crown 
Prince had ordered the fight to be broken, off until the other Corps 
had come up in sufficient strength. But before this command had 
rea<^ed the field of battle, Bothmer's Division, of the II. Bavarian 
Corps, had ah*eady gained gi'ound towards Woerth beyond Langensulz- 
bach; this General also wrongly received the command to break 
off the fight at 10. 30 o'clock, in consequence of which he now 
retreated upon the position at Langensulzbach. 

Marshal Mac Mahon, being thus relieved upon his left flank, 
was now able to direct his whole force against Woerth. 

This was the critical moment of the battle. The V. 
Prussian Corps in a thrice repeated assault endeavoured in vain to 
advance beyond Woerth. 

Whilst the battle was here raging at its highest, the Crown 
Prince, accompanied by Lieutenant General von Blumenthal and 
suite, came to take the command of the troops collected upon the 
battle field, and occupied the rising ground immediately in front 
of Woerth, in the centre of th^ fighting lines, as a point oi ob- 
servation. It was now about 1 o'clock. 

The French offensive had not been confined to Woerth. 

At 10. 30 o'clock, the same moment at which the Bavarians 
broke off the fight, Lacretelle's French Brigade, composed of 
Zouaves and Algerian Tirailleurs, broke forward from Morsbronn 
against Gunstett, now occupied only by the advanced guard of the 
2lBt DtvifiioB. . 

To meet this attack, the Division strengthened the position 
at Gunstett by 2 battalions from. the main body, pushed forward 
one battalion, of the 87th Regiment to the Bruchmiible which was 
occupied by a company of Jagers, and sent 3 battalions into the 
ravine to the north of the village of Spachbach. This was done 
under the fire of 2 of the enemy's batteries and a mitrailleuse battery 
in position opposite Gunstett, which fire was soon after augmented 
in a dangerous manner by 2 fresh French batteries which were 


driyen np to the edge of a hill, flanking ElsaBhausen on the east 
However the chief effect of these latter, was averted from the 
columns of the 2lBt Division by the fire of a battery of the V. 
Corps, in position to the north of Spachbach, and the S first mentioned 
batteries were played npon by the Artillery of the XI. Corps, 
posted on the north of Gunstett. 

The French Brigade met with a vigorous reception at the 
Bruchmtlhle; it was repulsed, and pursued across the meadows to 
the highroad embankment, where it obtained excellent cover. 

Further north, however, French tirailleurs had established 
themselves upon this side of the Sauerbach, and French columns 
now appeared in still greater strength upon the heights. 

At 11 o'clock, General von Boss came into Gunstett, promis- 
ing the arrival of the 22nd Division and the Artillery Corps. 

Half an hour later, the anticipated second attack upon Gun- 
stett began. It was caiTied on to the outskirts of the village, but 
was nevertheless repulsed, with the assistance of the Jager Battalion 
No. 11, which had just arrived. 

At about 12 o'clock, the 22nd Division was also seen 
advancing in the direction of Landsberg (also called Albrechts- 
hauserhof) and Eberbach, to the south of Gunstett. 

The right flank of the French 'Army here made a desperate 
resistance, but in spite of it, was forced to give ground, and the 
Artillery of both Divisions united upon the height of Gunstett. 

Thus the battle stood at 1 o*clock^ surging to and fro 
wider the repulsed assaults of the French Army; then the 
arrival of the Crown Prince in the centre of the Ihie of battle^ 
indicated the commencement of the irresistible pressure of the 
German columns. 

About this time th^ Wurtemberg Cavalry appeared upon the 
extreme left flank, the Artillery Corps of the XI. Corps had arrived 
at 12.45 o'clock ; upon the right flank, the leading troops of the 
I. Bavarian Corps began to draw near the line of battle, between 
Langensulxbach and Gorsdorf and the U. Bavarian Corps took 
up the fight anew upon the extreme right. The battle having 
been maintained for five hours, by single divisions against a 
greatly superior French foixe, numerical equality was now restored 



by the gradual arrival of fresh troops, whieh produced an alteration 
every moment in favour of the Germans, until at last the superiority 
in numbers was also entirely on the German side. 

General von Werder had received orders, shortly after 12 
o'clock, to leave one regiment for the protection of the head- 
quarters on the south of Sulz, and to push forward with all his 
remaining troops through the Niederwald towards Gunstett in order 
to support the XL Corps. Htigers Wurtemberg Brigade, as yet 
left behind, as well as the Artillery Corps now immediately 
advanced, and carried out the prescribed march beyond Gunstett; 
the out-posts stationed towards the south were also withdrawn and 
Beyer's Division followed that of Obernitz. 

General von Werder repaired to Gunstett just as StarklofTs 
Brigade reached it. 

At the same time that the XI. Corps , reinforced by the 
Wurtembergers, was in a position to undertake a successful offensive 
attack, the V. Corps in the centre attacked the position of fVoerth 
with irresistible strength. The village was taken by the advanced 
guai*d after an obstinate resistance. 

Twice the French columns threw themselves upon the Prus^an 
Regiments to rescue Woerth, but the village was held, the French 
retired, the 19th Infantry Brigade reinforced the 20th and the 
wood to the south of Woerth was occupied by a battalion of the 
18th Infantry Brigade. 

At 1 o'clock the Infantry of the 21st Division of the XL 
Corps under General von Thile crossed the Sauer to the south of 
Spachbach. They were followed by part of the Artillery of the 
Corps whilst the other part remained in position at Gunstett. The 
Division directed its attack against Eisashausen. At the same 
time the Wurtemberg Cavalry Brigade appealed upon .the left flank 
to the west of Gunstett. 

Thus between 1 and 2 o^clock, the bow of the German 
front of attack had been drawn closer and firmer round the 
French position, and encompassing it from north to south 
began to stifle the desperate attacks of the marshal. 

(The moment in the battle represented on the map.) 


Amid sanguinary fighting. General von Rose gained the high- 
road embankment and the heights to the west of it ; step by step 
the 2l8t Infantry Division pressed forward towards Elsashaosen, 
until at 2 o'clock, in conjunction with parts of the V. Corps, it 
succeeded in taking the burning village. General von Bose was 
here wounded by a shot in the thigh, but remained on horseback 
at the head of his Corps. 

In vain Marshal Mac Mahon made a furious attack with 
Infantry and Cuirassiers from Froschweiler^ with the intention of 
breaking through the German centre. He was repulsed. 

The v. Corps was now joined by the I. Bavarian Corps, 
which entered at once, energetically into the fight, in spite of the 
long march it had already made, and to this was united the 11. 
Bavarian Corps from the north. The brave Bavarians drove the 
left wing of the French before them with irresistible power. 
Upon the left, the Wurtemberg Division joined the XI. Corps. 
Thus Frosehweiler y the centre and Q\uQi point dappui to the 
French position, was attacked. 

This village, situated upon the hill on the road from Woerth 
to Reichshofen, commanding the surrounding country, was most 
obstinately held. Both lines stood for a long time opposite to 
one another without wavering, whilst clouds of smoke rose up all 
over the battle field from burning farms and villager. It was here 
that the French Cuirassiers were destroyed, when throwing them- 
selves with impetuous valour upon the German Infantry, in order 
to break through the enemy, in old Napoleon fashion, by the 
weight of their masses. General von Bose was here wounded for 
the second time. 

Froschweiler was taken at 3. 30 o^clock. The Bavarians 
on the north, the Prussians on the east and west and the 
Wurtembergers on the south, attacked on all sides and took the 
village with several thousand of the enemy enclosed in it. 

fFtth this the battle was definitively decided. 

The French Regiments, which had been unable to obtain any 
success in spite of the utmost bravery, broke into disorderly flight, 
some towards Reiciishofen , some in a north-westerly direction to- 
wards J&gerthal, some even back towards the south, leaving guns. 


colonrs and numerous prisoners in the hands of the victors. A small 
detachment of Infantry had occupied J&gerthal before the com- 
mencement of the battlC; as the Marshal recognized the importance 
of this defile, which led towards Bitsch. 

After Froschweiler was iakeUy the Cavalry of all the 
German Divisions immediately commenced the pursuit and 
continued it for six miles,*) reckoning from Woerth to Zabern 

Guyot de Lespart's Division of the 5th Corps, alone was in 
a position to resist in some measure this pursuit, and to cover 
the retreat of the 1st Corps. This Division was then moved 
back to its Corps at Bitsch, and by this movement made the 
Germans 'believe that the main body of Mac Mahon*s Army had 
retired upon Bitsch, so that the pursuit was diverted from the 
principal line of retreat. 

The loss of the French in killed and wounded was 5000 
men, in prisoners 8000 men, among whom were 2500 wounded. 
General Colson, the French Chief of the Staff, had fallen. They lost, 
in guns ^5 cannon and 6 mitrailleuses, besides 2 eagles and a 
quantity of valuable baggage, including the Staff carriages and the 
Marshal's correspondence. 

A large propoiiiion ot this booty was taken by the Wurtemberg 
Cavalry Brigade, which in conjunction with the Reserve Artillery 
was sent out from ijfunstett on the enemy's right flank, and also 
the EurmErkische Regiment of Dragoons No. 14, the 2nd Regiment 
of Hessian Hussars No. 14, and the Bavarian 3rd Light Horse 

The loss of the Germans in killed and wounded, was equal 
to that of the enemy. 

Owing to the unfortunate course of the war for France, there 
are, in general, no accurate French accounts of the battles. The 
tactics adopted on the French side therefore, can at present only 
be inferred from observations made on the German side. From 
these it appears that in the battle of Woerth, Mac Mahon at 
different times attempted changes of front, and that his prevailing 

*) 27»/i English miles. 



Cowfi Froi 


idea was to break throagh the enemy's centre, by means of large 
masses. Assaults were made from Morsbronn against Gnnstett and 
especially, at a later phase in the battle, from Froschweiler against 
Elsashansen and against Woerth. 

At all events the French fought very bravely, and until the 
numerical superiority of the Oeimans told, they offered a success- 
fnl resistance. 

The Marshal had, also, managed his troops well in the 
battle; this is clearly proved, by the fact that the Germans after 
the fight estimated the strength of his corps, as greater than it 
actually was. 

His Army, aiPter the losses in Douay's Division, may still 
have numbered 33,000 Infantry, 3,400 Cavabry and 107 Guns, to 
which must be added Bonnemain's Cavalry Division of 16 squadrons, 
Conseirs Division of 13 NBattalions and 3 fiiatteries, and Guyot de 
Lespart*B Division of 13 Battalions and 3 Batteries which bring 
the whole force under the Marshal at the battle of Woerth to about 
5*2,000 Infantry, 5,400 Cavalry and 143 Guns. 

On the same day that the German left wing gained the victory 
of Woerth, their right wing stormed a strong position, which served 
as a point of appui to the French position at SaarbrUcken. As at 
Woerth, this fight took place a day sooner than the General 
commanding had intended. 

The impatience of the troops to measure their strength with 
the French, led to a wonderful feat at SaarbrUcken. The leading 
troops- of the columns, on the line of march, fought a battle with 
the most favourable results, which would have been the duty of 
the columns themselves after they had completed their formation 
in position. * 

Opposite the town of SaarbHtckeriy upon French territory, the 
heights of Speicheren rise, with one comer jutting out towards the 
north, and steep, partly wooded slopes towards the north-west 
and north-east, similar to a natural fortress, (v. map.) 


The approach to these heights from the town is rendered 
difficult by numerous lakes and ponds, and by wooded ground 
whose different declivities form so many positions for the combat. 

This strong position was occupied by FrossartTs CorpSy and 
strengthened by artificial defences. 

From here, Saarbrdcken had been taken on the 2nd of August, 
yet the offensive had been carried no further; the untenable part 
of Saarbrdcken together with the exercising ground on the south 
of the town had been evacuated, and only the slope of the valley 
to the south-west of the exercising ground, and the Galgenberg 
hill lying behind it ; thus the ground in front of the actual position, 
remained occupied. The French Direction having been convinced, 
since the 2nd of August, that no hostile forces would be opposed, 
to Saarbrttcken, Bazaine's Corps had been drawn off towards the 
east. His 1st Division had marched towards Saargemiind, to 
strengthen Lapasset's Brigade, the 2nd Division towards Puttlingen^ 
and the 3rd and 4th had taken up a position between St. Avoid 
and Marienthal. 

Meanwhile the guards were moved from Metz towards Boulay, 
and on the 6th of August were stationed at Courcelles, about 3\^3 
miles*) in rear of St. Avoid. 

Frossard's Corps, on this day, was still upon the heights of 
Speicheren; Laveaucoupet's Division was stationed to the north of 
this village, on the right of the road from Forbach to Saarbrttcken, 
Verge's Division was on the left of the road, Bataille's Division 
formed the reserve. The Speicheren heights were especially adapted 
for the defence. Frossard's Corps, encamped in the neighbourhood 
of Forbach, could easily be reinforced by the railroad from Metz, 
as well as quickly effect its retreat; Saarbrticken and the line of 
th« Saar in front, gave him moreover, in great measure, the power 
of observing the movements of the enemy. 

Nevertheless this observation was entirely neglected. 

The disposition! of the Commander in Chief of the first German 
Army*, on the 5th of August, had ordered the VII. Army Corps to 
advance as far as the Saar on the 6th. The 13th Division was 

") 151/3 English miles. 


directed towards Pnttlingen ; their out-poBts, to be pushed forward 
HB far as V51klingen and RockershauBen. The 14th Division was 
to reach Guichenbach, and out-posts to be pushed forward towards 
Saarbrtlcken and Louisenthal. The Artillery Corps was to follow 
the 14th Division as far as Hensweiler. These dispositions coincided 
with the movements of the second Army, whose head-quarters were 
removed to Homburg on the 6th, and whose advanced guard 
approached the French frontier at Saargemtind. 

General von Rheinbaben^s Division of Cavalry, which was on 
the strength of the first Ai*my, had, on the moraing of the 6th of 
August, already pushed forward a Light Cavalry Regiment as far 
as the Saar, for the purpose of observing the position of the 
enemy. It was ascertained that Saarbrtlcken and its environs 
were evacuated, and that the enemy had withdrawn to the heights 
of Speicheren. The General commanding, von Zmirawy received 
this report shortly before 10 o'clock in the morning, when he was 
on the point of marching towards Dilsburg, and the news was 
confiimed and amplified at 10 o'clock, by a report from Lieutenant 
General von Kamecke, commanding the 14th Infantry Division, 
according to which the enemy had taken up a position on the 
heights of Speicheren, and appeared to be embarking on the rail- 
way at Forbach. 

In consequence of this, General von Zastrow, at 1 o'clock, 
ordered the 13th Infantry Division, under General von GlUmer, to 
maixih towards Volklingen and Wehrden, to push foi*ward their 
advanced guard across the Saar upon Forbach and Ludweiler, and 
to gain information as to the strength and intentions of the 

The 14th Infantry Division was to reinforce its advanced guard, 
which was to take up a position near Saarbrtlcken, upon the left 
bank of the Saar, and its main body to be directed by Neudorf 
upon Rockershausen. Patrols to be sent forward in the direction 
of Forbach. 

The Artillery Corps was to follow to Puttlingen. 

The General's intention, on this day, was to push up the main 
body of his Corps on to the Saar, at Volklingen and Rockershausen, 
and early op the 7th, to attack the enemy at Forbach. 


The independent advance of the 14th Infantry Division 
did not allow this plan to be cati'ied out, but brought on a 
serious encounter with the enemy on the 6th. Rheinbaben's 
Cavalry Division was the first to arrive in Saarbriicken. It passed 
through the town at 12 o'clock, and sent out some squadrons to- 
wards the heights on the south side, who were fired upon when 
advancing beyond them. 

Between 12 and 1 o*clock the 14M Division had already 
reached Saarbriicken^ consequently before the General command- 
ing had given the order for it to remain at Rockershansen. It 
passed the town^ and immediately attacked the portions of 
Frossard's Corps which were in the valley, below the heights of 

The French troops were forced to evacuate the groutid in 
front, and were pursued as far as the steep heights, which 
presented an extraordinary obstacle to the advance of the 14th 

General von Eamecke made dispositions for the attack of 
these heights upon both flanks, and sent information of his position 
to General von Zastrow. He received this report at 3 o'clock, 
and immediately repaired to the battle field, by Saarbriicken; yet 
before reaching Saarbrticken he heard the thunder of the fight, 
and sent an officer to inform the 13th Division at Vdlklingen, of 
the action in which the 14th IMvision was engaged. 

The advanced guard of the 13th Division had arrived at 
V6lklingen, in accordance with the order, at 2. 30 o'clock; the 
main body commenced the march from Ttittlingen to Ydlklingen 
at 3 o'clock. Nothing was here known of the fight begun near 
SaarbrUcken, as the woody, mountainous country intercepted the 
sound of the firing. The information from General von Zastrow, 
brought by the officer mentioned, only reached its destination at 
5 o'clock. 

When General von Zastrow arrived to take command at 
4. 30 o'clock, the situation upon the field of battle was as follows 
(v. this moment upon the map): 

Upon the German right flank, the 28th Infantry Brigade, 
after heavy losses, had gained possession of the wood, bordering 


he railway between Drathziig and Stiring, and held it. In the 
front, 6 batteries in position upon the Focksterhdhe and Galgen- 
berg, had opened fire, viz: the foot division of No. 7 Regiment 
of Field Artillery and 2 batteries belonging to the VIII. Corps. 
The HohenzoUem Fusilier Regiment No. 40, df the latter Corps, 
had also come np to the support of the 14th Division, and the 
General commanding^ von Goben^ was himself upon the spot and 
conducted the fight. 

To the east of Drathzug, the 15th Hussars, of the 14th 
Infantry Division, and the 11th Hussars, of the 5th Cavalry Division, 
were halted under cover. There was no infantry at all in front. 

Upon the left flank, the 27th Infantry Brigade, commanded 
by General von Francois, had effected an unparalleled feat, amid 
the heaviest losses. Under ttie very eyes of the antagonists, who 
were far superior in murderous artillery and infantry fire, it had 
climbed to the summit of a projecting nose of the heights, and 
established itself upon the plateau, partly in the midst of a wood 
which was defended by the enemy. Here General von Francois 
fell, killed in the fight. 

The HohenzoUern Fusilier Regiment No. 40, was advancing in 
support of this brigade. 

Several regiments of the 5th Cavalry Division were in rear 
of the left wing, concealed at the foot of the hill. 

The position of all these troops was hazardous in the highest 
degree. The overpowering enemy held the heights with inflexible 
firmness, so that the right wing, the 28th Infantry' Brigade, was 
unable to gain much ground. With the assist-ance of the 40th 
Regiment, which had come up, the 27th Infantry Brigade succeeded 
it is true in completely taking the wood at 5 o'clock, but it was 
impossible for the present to press further forward. There were 
no more infantry in reserve. In endeavouring to push on against 
the £a*eutzberg, from the acquired south-west point of the wood, 
the German lines were brought to a stand by the powerful attacks 
of the enemy. 

The greatest devotion and bravery of these troops alone 
prevented the ground obtained, being again lost. 

The thunder of cannon, however, audible afar in the direction 


of Saarbrttcken and beyond, had reached the columns of the III. 
Army Corps, which was approaching the frontier; they followed 
the direction of the sound in accelerated march, and at 5 o'clock, 
General von Ahensleben^ the commanding General of this corps, 
arrived upon the field of battle with 5 or 6 battalions. 

These battalions were immediately sent to support the troops 
on the heights. 

But in spite of this most necessary reinforcement, they did 
not succeed in progressing further than the ravine, which the 
Kreutzber^ forms at a particular segment of the Speicheren heights 
and which offered an especially favourable position for the French 

At 5. 30 o'clocky the action here came to a standy and 
remained in the same position until 8. 30 o'clock. 

At 7. 30 o'clock the first artillery arrived upon the plateau, 
a battery of the III. Corps having, by the utmost exertions, succeeded 
in bringing the guns up the hill. It took up a position upon 
the south-west point of the, wood, and fired with success upon the 
French batteries. 

During these three hours French columns advanced five 
or six times, but each time the attack was repulsed by the 

The battle at this place, only died out when complete dark- 
ness set in. 

The 16th Division which reached Saarbrttcken in the evening, 
was placed at the disposal of General von Zastrow, in a reserve 
position, by the verbal order of General von SteinmetZy who 
appeared upon the field of battle at 7 o'clock, having received an 
announcement of the fight, at 5 o'clock, when at Eiweiler. 

The French on the left also attempted an attack upon the 
German right flank at 6. 30 o'clock, and commenced it with a 
strong battery in position at Stiring. But the efficacious fire of a 
German battery, concentrated upon this point, very soon obliged 
the enemy's battery to drive off, and forced the infantry to 

About 8 o'clock in the evening, however, the surrounding of 
the French line of retreat towards Forbach was effected by the 


13th Division^ npon the extreme right flank. 'This presBiire upon 
the French position^ which General von Zastrow had prepared by 
his march dispositions for the 7th of August, and accelerated by 
the announcement of the attack made by the 14th Division, induced 
the severely-shaken enemy to vacate the position, so long and 
obstinately held, and at the same time caused a Division of 
Bazaine^s Corps, which was approaching to Frossard's assistance, 
to return to St. Avoid. 

The 13th Infantry Division, .which had crossed the Saar at 
Wehrden, marched towards Forbach by Rosseln, the advanced guard, 
under General von der Goltx) debouched from the Forbach wood 
towards 8 o^clock, and 2 battalions of the 55th Regiment with 1 
battery, immediately went forward to attack the Eaninchen hill, 
which was strongly occupied and strengthened by cover trenches. 
These trenches were taken just before dai*k, and the battery was 
enabled to open fire upon Forbach and the masses 6f the enemy 
still visible there. 

At the sound of this fighting upon tlie flank and in tlie rear, . 
the troops, who were still energetically defending the Kreutzberg, 
began a rapid and disorderly retreat. 

fFith this the action came to an end. The fall of night 
put a stop to the pursuit. 

To cover the retreat, several batteries were driven up on to 
the Belschberg and its western projections, and continued the fire 
for long, without however producing any effect upon the German 
troops. At 9 o'clock, the French Army withdrew by Eslingen 
upon Blittersdorf leaving behind numerous prisoners, the camp 
equipage, a pontoon column, several provision waggons, and large 
stores of forage and clothing in Forbach. 

The loss in killed and wounded, in this hot and murderous 
fight, was extraordinarily great upon both sides. It amounted in 
each Army to at least 6000 men. 

General Frossard had remained entirely without support from 
Bazaine. Montaudon's Division of the 3rd Corps, which was 
stationed in Saargemtlnd on the 5th and 6th of August, had moved 
back to the 2nd Division which held Puttlingen, at 4 o'clock in 
the aftenioon of the 6th. The latter Division marched about the 


whole day, now fowards Saargemflnd now towards Saarbrficken^ 
but not upon the field of battle. 

The important result of the three victories, at Weissenburg, 
Woerth and Saarbrticken, was that the whole of the French Army 
gave up its original position and began a general rapid retreat. 
By this means alone was it enabled to escape the fate of being 
rolled up by the Army of the Crown Prince, or surrounded and 
forced back from its line of retreat towards the north. 


The Investment of Strasburg and the first Battle near 

Metz (Courcelles). 

The Dorth-east of France, which became the theatre of war shortly 
after the German victories on the 6th of August, — the table land 
of Lorraine and the Rhine valley separated from it by the Vosges — , 
by its natural formation and consequent limited military character 
caused the operations of the war to be divided into two parts. 

The acquisition of Strasburg was no less important to 4he 
German Leadership than the pursuit and destruction of the main 
body of the French Army, whose next natural front must be the 
line of the Moselle. Strasburg possessed a double impoiiance as 
a fortress by its position in front of the great passes of the Vosges 
and in the middle of the open plain, which leads in a southerly 
direction to Franche Comt6 and Bourgogne in the centre of France. 

The Vosges, the natural western boundary wall of Germany, 
which border the Rhine valley on the west, rise quickly upwards 
from the plateau land of the Burgundy gate in the south, and 
form an unbroken chain to the valley of the Lauter, diminishing in 
height towards the north, with steep declivities towards the Rhine 
and sloping gradually down towards the table land of Lorraine on 
tlie west* In the southern third, these moyntaina attain the greatest 
height and width, the ridge is no where less than 3000 feet high 
and rounded off, near the eastern side, the granite^ wooded summits 
rise 1000 feet higher. 

Where the. granite masses cease at the sources of the Meurthe, 
the mountains are smaller, lower, and the peaks are less impoiiant. 


Then comes the principal pass of the mountains^ which begins 
on the eastern slope at Zaberne (Saverne) and leads by Pfalzbnrg 
to the Meurthe towards Luneville. 

This pasSy the entrance gate as i^ were between Germany and 
France, and near the gate of Burgundy which is occupied by the 
fortress of Belfort, has been, since the most ancient times, a road 
for the Roman, French and German Army columns, and the posi- 
tion of Strasburg was deemed essential to it. The railroad from 
Paris, by Chalons and Toul to Strasburg, passes through it, and 
the canal, which in its further continuation leads to the Marne. On 
the other side of the pass, the last third of the mountain range 
begins, stretching as far as the Lauter valley, where the advanced 
troops of the French Army were overthrown on the 4th of August, 
and is a very intersected, hilly country, with citadels crowning the 
summits. The small fortresses of Bitsch, Lichtenberg and Lfltzel- 
stein lie in this northernmost part of the Vosges. 

Strasburg, the largest town in Alsace and the strongest fortress 
in this eastern part of the theatre of war, formed a bulwark to the 
great pass of the Vosges just described, it was also a central point 
of defence for the Rhine valley, and the first rampart against an 
entry by the gate of Burgundy. 

For the successful defence of this fortress, the support of an 
army holding the Vosges was certainly necessary. After Mac Mahon 
was beaten at Woerth, and his troops had evacuated the passes of 
the Vosges in disorderly flight, Strasburg became an isolated foii;; 
ress, similar to the fortress of Pfalzburg lying by itself in the 
great pass; only much larger, far more important in a political 
point of view, and provided with a numerous garrison, which might 
have been able to undertake dangerous operations in rear of the 
German Army, and became in consequence, an important object of 
operations for the left wing of the advancing Army. 

The table land of Lorraine which stretches out as far as 
the Ardennes towards the north, and to the deeply indented valley 
of the Meuse towards the west, became the other principal theatre 
of war, upon the further side of the Vosges. The upper level of 
this table land is hilly, its streams mostly flow in deeply cut beds, 
and are difficult to cross. The chief river is the Moselle which 


rises at Ballon de Svlz, south of the Vosges^ and leaves the plateau 
of Langres at Epinal. It forms an excellent defensive position 
through its mountainous banks^ and a strategical line of great impor- 
tance by the powerful fortress of Metz and the fortress of Thion- 
ville. Upon its right side, first the Meurthe runs into it^ upon 
which Luneville and Nancy are situated ^ then comes the Saar, 
the sh^am which the first Army Corps and part of the second 
victoriously crossed on the 6th of August, which rises in the north 
of the Vosges, and upon which are the towns of Saarburg and Saai*- 

The effect produced upon the French army^ by the defeats 
on the 4th and 6th of August^ was that all the Corpst without 
reference to their original formation, streamed on to the Moaolle 
line, fused into two large masses^ without any determined plan 
for continuing the defensive struggle. A rent went through the 
army, which even violently sundered the corps unity of de Failly's^ 
troops, so that Lapasset's Brigade which was in SaargemQnd, sepa- 
rated itself entirely from its own Corps, and joined the 3i*d Corps 
in the retreat towards Metz, whilst the main body, under the com- 
mand of the General himself, endeavoured to form a junction with 
the army which was being formed at Ch&lons. 

The retreat of the French Corps necessarily led to the forma- 
tion of two different armies, the army of Metz and the army of 
Ch&Ions. The latter was formed of the Ist, 6th, 7th and the 
12th Corps which was raised at a later period, and the former of 
the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th Corps and the Imperial Guard. 

After the defeat at Woerth, the Ist Corps fled, in the first 
instance, in all directions, the main body however arrived at Saverne, 
and upon the 7th of August some order was again restored in the 
regiments. The Marshal then made them march through the night, 
and on the morning of the 8th they reached Saarburg. On the 
dth the Corps was at Blamont, on the 10th in Luneville. Then, 
under the apprehension that the enemy might have pressed forward 
to Nancy and destroyed the railroad by Bar-le-Dnc to Ch&lons, the 
Marshal decided upon taking a more southerly direction. He wished 
to make use of the railway which loUows the valley of the Marne, 
by Chaumont, Joinville and St. Dizier. 



The march was therefore directed by a branch line .of that rail- 
way upon Nenfch^tean, first to Bayon on the Moselle, where it 
was encamped on the 11th; the next day to Harou^, on the 13th 
to Vicherey; on the 14th; the Corps arrived at Neufch&teaU; from 
whence one part embarked on the rail way , so as to arrive at 
Ch&lons on the 15th; whilst the remainder, especially the cavalry, 
marched, and only later made use of the railway at Joinville and 
St. Dizier. The strength of the 1st Corps, on arriving at Ch&lons, 
was from 20,000 to 22,000 men. 

General de Failly heard of the defeat at Woerth on the evening 
of the 6th, and immediately gave orders to commence the retreat 
on the following morning. In the well grounded apprehension 
that he might be cut off, he decided to move off during the night. 
The train was directed that evening towards Saargemtind, the whole 
of the baggage was taken into the fortress of Bitsch, and at 
8 o'clock in the evening the Corps began to march, and arrived at 
Ltttzelstein on the 7th, at 4 o'clock in the afternoon. From here it 
followed the 1st Corps, keeping about two days march in its rear, 
eventually covering its retreat. On the 8th., Genei'al de Failly 
arrived at Lixheim, on the 9th at Saarburg, on the 10th at 
Avricourt, and on the evening of the 11th at Luneville. From this 
place he marched to Chaumont, and drew in his rear guard, Guyot 
de Lespart's Division. From Chaumont the Corps travelled by rail 
to Ch&lons, where it arrived on the 19th and 20th of August. 

The 7th Corps, which after the departure of Conseil-Dumes- 
nil's Division to the Ist Corps, only consisted of Li^bert's Division, 
a Brigade of Cavalry and the Reserve Artillery (the 3rd Division 
was still in course of formation in Lyons), had gone from Belfort to 
Mtlhlhausen on the 6th of August, for the purpose of encountering the 
supposed enemy in the Black Forest. On the following morning 
General Douay received a dispatch from Mac Mahon, informing him, 
of the loss of the battle at Woerth, and an hour later a second 
dispatch which ran. thus: 

^'If possible throw one Division into Strasburg, and cover 
Belfort with both of the other Divisions.'' signed: Napoleon. 

The Commander in Chief of the army and the Chief of the Staff 
consequently did not know that the 3rd Division (Dumont's) of the 


7th Corps, was still in process of formation in Lyons, and that the 
Ist Division (Couseil - Dumesuil's) had been detached, two days 
before, to the 1st Corps. 

In consequence of this command. General Douay drew back 
towards Belfort. The departure from Mahlhausen took place, at 
midday on the 7th of August, with real precipitation. These troopa 
arrived in Belfort again on the 8th of August, and prepared to 
complete the fortifications of the place, especially the three advanced 
works, the Barres, the Grandes Perches, and the Petites Perches, 
the earthworks of which had only been traced out. 

The different portions of Dumont's Division arrived in Belfort 
about the 13th of August, and, besides the 1st Division which 
remained with Mac Mahon, only Jolif du Coulombier's Cavalry Bri- 
gade was wanting* It was kept back at Lyons, and never joined 
its corps. 

This was therefore the next destiny of those corps which, later 
on, formed the principal part of the Army of Ch&lons. 

The corps which formed the army of Metz arrived in the 
following manner for the purpose of concentration at this fortress. 

When the German advanced guard approached Saargemttnd on 
the 7th of August, General Frossard who had on that moniing 
retired there from Blittersdorf, considering it wiser to place more 
gi'ound between himself and the enemy, departed at 1 o'clock for 
the purpose of reaching Bazaine at Puttlingen. He arrived there 
at 4 o'clock in the afternoon. This hasty retreat, before an enemy 
who had only just shown himself, brought disorder and mistrust 
among the troops, who had previously accused their General of not 
having allowed himself to be seen during the action. 

General Frossard liad, in fact, been engaged in business trans- 
actions about minor concerns with the Mayor of Forbach during the 
attack of Kamecke's Division upon the heights of Speicheren. 

Upon receiving the news of the overthrow of the 2nd Corps, 
Marshal Leboeuf, the chief of the Staff, ordered an immediate con- 
centration of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and Guai'ds Corps, around Metz. 
This was effected on the 7th, 8th and 9th of August. At the same 
time the 6th Corps arrived, by railway from ChUlons, at Metz, 
where the Imperial head-quarters had been established, and thus 



five corps were assembled there, an army of about 200.000 
men mik 468 guns. 

On the 12th of August, these active forces were in posi- 
tion on the right bank of the Moselle^ under cover of the 
eastern outer forts of Metz. 

The Dews of the condition of the army, which had emanated 
from the French Chief command, had in the meantime pro- 
duced an uneasy feeling throughout the whole country, which, 
reacting again, had a pernicious effect upon the Direction of the 

Although the defeats of the 4th and 6th of August must have 
been a temble awakening from the delusions under which France 
laboured, yet only two corps and single divisions of two other corps 
had been immediately concerned in them, consequently only the 
smaller part of the army, and it was the duty of the Chief 
command to remind the army and the country, in an appropriate 
manner, of the forces still at hand. 

But the dispatches from head-quarters, instead of having a 
calming influence, represented a complete helplessness in the Direc- 
tion of the army, and made a change in the Chief command 
necessary, in opposition to public opinion in the country and in 
the army. 

The kind of dispatches were as follows: 

Metz, 7th August 8 o'clock a.m. 

''It is necessary that France and Paris should prepare for 
the greatest effoi*ts, for the greatest sacrifices. No weakness! 
Mac Mahon covers Nancy. Frossard's Corps is well led. The 
Chief of the Staff is with the advanced posts." 

11.55 o'clock a.m. 

''The concentration of the troops upon Metz is carried on with- 
out difficulty. The trial which we have to encounter is severe, 
but it does not exceed the patriotism of the nation.'' 

4 o'clock p.m. 

"The enemy is not pursuing Mac Mahon. The Marshal is con- 
centrating his troops.^ 


On the morning of the 7th, Paris had already been declared 
in a state of siege, a decree called upon all young men, under 
30 years, to serve- in the Garde Mobile, and all citizens, between 
30 and 40 years of age, to serve in the Garde Nationale. 

The Division, which occupied Papal territory, was embarked 
for France as early as the 6th of August, all the dispensable 
troops were brought away from Algiers, and even some that were 
necessary there; the embarkation of an army to invade the German 
coasts was interrupted and the troops recalled, and even the marines 
wei'e incorporated in the land army. 

The 12th Corps was also formed, under General Trochu 
(later Lebrun, v. the order of battle), and the 13th Corps, under 
General f^inoyj (the Corps numbered 8, 9, 10 and 11 were 
intended for the military commands in Paris, Lyons, Toulon and 

In the mean time the German Army Corps ^ following up 
the advantages they had already gained, poured across the frontier 
in uninterrupted succession. 

On the 9th of August the Chief head-quarters were removed to 
Saarbrttcken, the head-quarters of the second army, upon the same 
day, were in SaargemQnd, the head-quarters of the third army in 
Ober-Moddem, having been at Mersweiler on the 8th, and the pre- 
vious day in Hegweiler, Eberbaoh and Surburg. 

The Geiman armies made a strategical wheel to the right, and 
by that means gained a new front, which corresponded with the line 
of retreat taken by the enemy. 

This new disposition imposed the following conditions: that the 
country between the Saar and the Moselle should be firmly held 
by the firat army whilst remaining stationary, that the second 
army should be opened out, whilst the heads of tlie columns only 
moved slowly forward, and that the third army should force its way 
through the Vosges chain by rapid marches. 

How far the second army extended towards the rear, in con- 
foimity with the original disposition, at the time that the battle of 
Woerth was fought, is evident from the Saxons (XII. Corps) having 
only reached Kaisei'slautem on the 7th, Homburg on the 8th, and 
Saarbrttcken not until the IJth. 


But whilst the main bodies of the first and second armies, moving 
slowly forward, were united in compact membership, the independent 
cavalry Divisions at their heads formed an advanced line two days 
march in front, keeping at the heels of the retiring French corps, 
carefully watching them and at the same time concealing the German 
operations by an impenetrable veil. As early as the 10th of August 
these heads had passed the districts of Saar«Union, Gros-Tenquin, 
Faulquemont, Fouligny and Les Etangs. 

The task which had devolved upon the third army, besides 
the advance through the Vosges, included various other operations 
against the fortresses lying among the mountains, and also the impor- 
tant detaching of forces whose aim was Strasburg. 

Bitseh, the most western of the Vosges fortresses, bars a cross 
road through the mountains. Here three roads leading from the 
valley of the Rhine unite, and continue as two to the Saar. From 
its natural strength, situated upon the cone of a hill and on a 
lake, with bomb-proof casemates, a well . 246 feet deep, richly 
provided with stores, furnished with 80 guns and 1000 men, Bitsch 
offered an invincible resistance to the detachment of the XL Bavarian 
Corps, which had moved forward to besiege it on the 8th of August 
and at once commenced the bombai'dment with a field battery. The 
corps had therefore to make a long detour by Lemberg, Montbronn, 
and St. Lorenzen, by mountainous roads, with the greatest difficulty 
and to content itself with investing the fortress. 

The castle of Lichtenberg^ situated upon rocks, likewise re- 
fused the summons to surrender, sent by the Wurtemberg Division, 
but capitulated however on the 10th, after the houses had been 
partially set on fire, the day before, by the bombardment This 
success was gained by the 1st and 2nd Jager battalions, the 1st 
Field Artillery division and two companies of the 2nd Infantry 
Regiment, und«r General Hiigel, when 280 prisoners besides the fort 
itself were delivered into the hands of the Germans. 

Fort Liltzelstein (la Petite Pierre) j lying somewhat further 
south, was taken by the II. Bavarian Corps on the 9th of August. 

On the other hand, the important little fortress of Pfalzburgy 
unusually strongly situated upon a hill 1160 feet high, in the 
middle of the principal pass mentioned above, held out like Bitsch 


and compelled the third army to make a circuit by Petersbach. 
The fortress was invested. 

The head-quarters remained in Petersbach from the Uth to the 
13th of August. Here the town of Luneville surrendered, after iiaving 
been visited by the cavaliy of the advanced guard. Nancy had 
already been ridden through by German cavalry patrols on the 
12th. Upon the same day the I. Bavarian Corps, on the right flank, 
reached DiemeKingen near Saar-Union. 

Immediately after the battle of Woerth, whilst the main body 
of the third army thus passed the Vosges, and with its extreme 
right flank effected a junction with the left: flank of the second 
army, the Baden Division was moved forward towards the south. 
On the morning of the 7th, the cavalry brigade, under General von 
La Roche, appeared before the gates of Hagenau, and took the town 
by a coup de maiuy capturing over 100 prisoners, 80 horses, and 
a great many arms and articles of equipment. The Division marched 
in on the evening of the same day. 

On the 8th, tlie Baden cavalry appeared before Strasburyy and 
destroyed the railway and the telegraph wires to Lyons ; the divi- 
sion followed them; on the night of the 7th, the troops stationed 
at Rastatt had already thrown a bridge across the Rhine, by which 
24 heavy guns were moved over for the attack upon Strasburg. 
On the 9th, the north side of the great fortress was invested, and 
General von Beyer^ Commandant of the Baden troops, sent a sum- 
mons to the Commandant of the fortress, General Vkrichy to surrender. 

The Freni^h General refused the summons. 

Strasburg is not laid out according to the most modem prin- 
ciples of the art of fortification, there are no outer forts; still it 
is as strong a fortress as Vauban's more simple system alone could 
produce ; the Rliine and the III used for inundating, offer a natural 
means of strength. A rich equipment of artillery was at hand 
for the defence, as the fortress had been destined for the principal 
point of exit for the invasion of Germany. 


The town, with a population of 84.000 inhabitants^ is sur- 
rounded by a cincture of fortifications which nearly takes the form of 
a conical bullet, lying with its blunted point towards the east soutli east. 

The longimeter of the fortress is 4 kilometres*), the transverse 
diameter, measured at the base of the triangle, considered as an 
isosceles, surrounding the fortress, is 2^4 kiloqaetres**). 

On the east side, the fortifications extend as far as the westeru 
arm of the Rhine and enclose the citadel, which is .quite separated 
from the town proper. The citadel }s an enclosed work composed 
of five bastions, commanding the wall of the enceinte wliich sur- 
rounds the whole town, and horn works are thrown out below the 
citadel towards the north-east and south-east. The enceinte con- 
sists of bastions, which can be inundated on the south-east front 
by the Rhine and the 111, and are strengthened by advanced 
works and outer lines the north and north-west fronts, on the 
other hand, have large horn works and advanced lunettes, thrown 
out in front of the bastions. The railway station which unites 
the line from Kehl with those from Paris and Lyons, lies behind 
the north front. 

An excellent system of flooding enables the east and southern 
fronts to be inundated by the waters of tlie Rhine and of the 
navigable 111, which flows through the town. 

The garrison of the fortress consisted of 11.000 men of in- 
fantry of the Line and Artillery, besides Gardes Mobiles and Gardes 
Nationaux. On the other hand, Engineer troops were entirely wanting. 
A tolerably large number of troops had, moreover, been driven 
into the fortress by the panic produced by the defeats of Weissen- 
burg and Woerth, and formed a motley crew, which had to be 
organized afi'esh in the necessary formation. At the beginning of 
the campaign, the defence of Strasburg had never been taken into 

The north side of the fortress had already, on the 9th, been 
invested by the Baden Division, as before mentioned, the head-quarters 

*) 2Vs EnglUh miles. 
) about iVs English miles. 



were in Lampertheim, On the 14th, General von Werder was 
nominated to the Chief command of the siege corps, which was to 
consist of the Baden Division, the Prussian 1st reserve Division and 
the Garde-Landwehr- Division, as well as the siege artillery and 
technical troops. Lieutenant General von Decker was appointed 
to the command of the siege artillery, and Mtgor General v. Mertens 
commanding engineer. 

On the 13th, the head-quarters were ti*ansfeiTed toMundolsheim, 
and the investment was drawn closer upon the north-west, north 
and east fronts, whilst the enemy shewed no activity in the of- 

On the 15th, Schiltigheim , Ruprechtsau, and K5nigshoffen 
wer6 brought into the cordon of the investment, but the regular 
siege had not as yet begun and the guns required for the bombard* 
ment. were still wanting. 

Upon the other side of the Vosges, the advance of the three 
German armies had progressed without delay. The table land of 
Lorraine had been passed as far as the line of the Moselle without 
fighting, whilst the first army continued its direction towards Metz, 
the second army upon Pont-k-Mousson and the third upon Nancy. 

The Chief head - quarters were in St. Avoid on the 12th 
and were removed, on the 18th, to Faulquemont, near which place 
is the castle Herny, 3 miles^), from Metz, in which the King him- 
self took up his quarters. 

The first aimy, now joined by the I. Army Corps and the 
1st Cavalry Division, had advanced as far as the line of St. Barbe- 
Frontigny at midday on the 14th; their advanced posts were one 
mile**) from Metz and. felt the enemy. 

The second army, whose head-quarters were transferred to 
Gros-Tenquin on the 12th, having satisfied themselves that the 

•) 134/5 English miles. 
••) 43/5 English mile?. 


Nied would not be defended by the French, in spite of the entrench- 
ment which had been thrown up and the villages having been 
placed in a state of defence, made preparations to cross the Moselle 
on the 14th and 15th. For this purpose the head-quarters moved 
off, on the morning of the 13th, to Pont-a-Mousson^ the principal 
passage over the river. From the different reconnaissances which 
had been made it was foreseen that no opposition would be offered 
to crossing at this place. Neither the stone work of the bridge 
in the town nor the small wooden portion of it on the left bank, 
had been destroyed. As the German infantry were taking ppssession 
of the town on the 13th, a French battalion, which was coming 
up by the railway from Metz, returned to Metz by the same route. 
Upon this the cavahy destroyed the rails and telegraph wires 
upon the other side of the Moselle. On the following day the head- 
quarters had, already, been established in the town. 

The main body of the third army was approaching Nancy on 
the 14th, on the 15th the II. Bavainan Corps came upon the fortress 
of Marsaly 4V2 miles*) from Nancy. This fortress situated in the 
mai*shy fells of the Seille, completely surrounded with wet ditches 
and furnished with a garrison of 600 men and 70 guns, formed 
the centi*al point of a natural defensive position ; it offered however 
no defence. After a short bombardment on the south side, it capi- 
tulated upon the same day; 512 un wounded prisoners, about 600 
remounts, 60 guns and a lai'ge quantity of provisions fell into the 
hands of the conquerors. 

In Nancy nothing was to be seen of the enemy, on the 14th 
the advanced guard of the Germans had already reconnoitred the 
fortress of Touly and summoned it to surrender. 

The French army had, therefore, given up the whole of the 
country east of the Moselle, without making any further fight. 
The positions on the Gennan and those on the French Nied, which streams 
unite in the Nied, midway between St. Avoid and Metz, I'/j miles**) 
north of the straight road which joins both places, wei'e as little 
defended as the positions on the Seille although an obstinate resis- 

*) 20Vto English miles. 
**) Nearly 7 English miles. 


tance might here have been made by the rear guard, and they 
were also found by the Germans to have been prepared for defence. 

It is doubtful whether the line of the Moselle might not even 
now have been held by the Fr^ich, by summoning up their whole 
strength. The circumstance, that Pont<k-Mou8son was not occupied, 
and that, on the 14th, Toul had already been summoned to surrender, 
indicates that the general defence of the whole line was not intended, 
or else that Mac Mahon had given up the defence of the southern 
tract in adopting the views of the French Chief command in oppo- 
sition to his own. 

With the passage at Pont-k-Monsson, the possibility of sur- 
rounding Metz at once appeared. 

In the publication*) inspired or written by the Emperor Napoleon 
himself it is said: '^the Prussians concealed their movements so 
well behind their formidable curtain of cavalry, which they spread 
out before their front in all directions, that in spite of the most 
persevering researches it was never really known where the main 
body of their troops was<" But even had the French Direction 
been acquainted with the position of the Germans on each day as 
they advanced from the frontier, it still might not have been able 
to accomplish the defence of the line of the Moselle, but only 
to secure and hasten, in a more cautious manner, a further retreat 
to the line of the Meuse. For the insufficiency of their forces 
made it impossible to hold so long a line against such an extended 
assailant. It is true that the army assembled round Metz was 
sufficient for the noctheni part, but as Mac Mahon was no longer 
able to take the field, or as yet unable to take it again, and his 
army consequently, not in a fit state to form the right wing of the 
position, even if a front had also been opposed to the second 
army, it would have been impossible to avoid a surrounding by 
the army of the Crown Prince. Under these circumstances the 
line of the Moselle was absolutely untenable* And now the 
French Direction committed the fault, of not commencing the retreat 

*) Campagne de 1870. Des' causes qui ont amen€ la capitulation de 
Sedan par an officier attach^ a T^tat major g^n^ral. Braxelles, J. Rozez. 


in time from this untenable position; they still retained the army 
in the fortress of Metz, whilst the first German army appeared in 
front and the second army threatened the right flank. The inter- 
ference of the ministry in Paris in the military operations, as well 
as the change made in the chief commimd bore no small share in 
the half measures of this epoch. The defeats of the army, as 
previously mentioned, had roused a general distrust in the general- 
ship of the Emperor; in consequence of this feeling, on the 
12th, he transferred the Chief command of the ''Rhine Army,'' viz. 
the corps united at Metz, to Marshal Bazaine, to whose command 
General Decaen succeeded. Marshal LebcBuf was dismissed from 
being Chief of the StaflF. 

The Emperor, however, still remained with the army, his 
influence always cari*ying weight, the ministry sent urgent coun- 
seils, and a ruinous insecurity in the military measures necessarily 
resulted from these complicated relations. 

The German Direciiony on the other hand, well aware of 
the advantages of its own situation, and the disadvantages of that 
of the enemy, hoped to get in rear of the French Army^ by 
making a circuit upon the left bank^ whilst the advance of the 
third at^my averted any danger that tnight by chance arise 
to the second army during the wheel, from Mac Mahon, 

At midday on the 14th of August, the I. Army Corps was 
stationed on the French Nied, with its Ist Division at Courcelles- 
Cliaussy, on the road from St. Avoid to Metz, and its 2nd Division 
at Les Etangs, upcm the road from Boulay to Metz. Of the VII. Army 
Corps, the 13th Division was at Pange, and the 14th Division, on 
the same stream, at Domangeville. The VIII. Army Corps was in 
reserve at Varize and Vionville on the German Nied. The 3rd 
Cavalry Division was stationed upon the right wing at Ste. Barbe, 
the Ist Cavalry Division on the left wing at Frontigny. 

The French army was, on the morning of this day, in large 
bivouacs to the east of the outer forts of Metz , and between them, 
upon the right bank of the Moselle. The troops stationed furthest to 
the east occupied earth entrenchments at Colombey and Nouilly, 
upon the little rivulets, which flow to the Moselle from the right, 
about 3000 paces beyond the outer forts. 

The ground between tlie flerman troope and the outer for te. 

only by bringing np the last regervea and by the gvosb 
tion, that it was able to make a stand until the 36th 

apon the little rivulets, which flow to the Moaelle from the right, 
about 3000 pacee beyond the outer forte. 


The ground between the German troops and tlie onter forts, 
offered hindrances difficnit to surmount, in the projecting heights, 
sinking down to the Moselle, which are here intersected by numer- 
ous brooks, and had been rendered of militaiy impoi'tance to the 
Frencli by cover trenches and gun-emplacements, one behind another 
in different lines. 

The 26th Infantry Brigade, forming the advanced guard of the 
VIL Ai-my Corps, under the command ofGeneral von derGoltz, observed 
movements in the enemy opposite, during the afternoon, which led 
to the inference that they were departing. In consequence of this 
an attack was ordered at about 4 o'clock, for the purpose of 
making a reconnaissance, which being directed against Colombeyy 
would ascertain whether this was actually the case, and at the 
same time compel the enemy to develope his strength. In this 
attack the 26th Infantry Brigade encountered an obstinate resis- 
tance from the Srd French corps, and was involved in a violent 
fight, in which it suffered gi*eat losses from the enei*getic, deliberate 
fire of the infantiy lying concealed. General von Zastrow ordered 
the 25th Infantry Brigade to move forward in support, from their 
bivouac at Pange, and directed their attack against Marsilly beyond 
Colllgny. At the same time the 14th Infantry Division received 
the order to move off from its bivouac at Domangeville, and to 
march upon Laquenexy. The artilleiy corps, w^hich was bivouack- 
ing at Bazoncourt, was also ordered to follow the 14th Infantry 
Division. Upon the right wing, the advanced guard of the I. 
Army Corps, under the command of Major General von Falckensteiu, 
moved forward, at the same time, for the attack; the Corps 
followed the du*ection of the two high roads leading to Metz from 
Boulay and St. Avoid, the 2nd Division, under General von Pritzel- 
witz, by the north road upon Noisseville, the 1st Division, under 
General Bentheim, by the south upon Montoi. (v. the map of the battle 
of Courcelles.) 

The 26th Infantry Brigade which was first engaged, came 
upon an overpowerhig enemy, whose masses were continually being 
more strongly developed, and was in a veiy perilous position ; it was 
only by bringing up the last resei^ves and by the gi'eatest devo- 
tion, that it was able to make a stand until the 2dth Infantry 


Brigade had come up by Colligny, which did not take place 
UDtil about 6 o'clock in the evening. This Brigade deployed so 
that three battalions attacked the entrenchments in the wood to the 
north of Colombey, on the right flank of tlie 26th Brigade, and two 
battalions remained closed to the west of Coincy. The artillery 
of the 13th Division came into position upon the hills to the east of 
Colombey, and prepared for the attack upon the French position 
by opening an efficacious fire, even thougli exposed to infautiy fire. 

The French had by degrees developed two Corps, Decaen's 
and Ladmiraulf s. They made such a powerful offensive attack 
towards Colombey and Noisseville, that both the 13th and the 
2nd Divisions could with difficulty hold their positions. 

At Colombey a more favourable turn was first produced by the 
arrival of the head of the 14th Infantry Division at 6.50 o'clock. 
General von Zaatrow directed the 28th Infantry Brigade, under 
Major General von Woyna, against the right flank of the enemy, 
still in position at Colombey ^ whilst he. made the 27th Infantry 
Brigade form up as a reserve, upon the heights to the east of 
Colombey. This attack upon his right flank compelled the enemy 
to give way; he fell back slowly upon Boniy, and gave up the 
wood which lies to the south-east of this place, after an obstinate 
defence. The wood lying to the north of Colombey was also 
taken, after a severe fight, by the 25th Infantry Brigade, under 
Major General von Osten-Sacken. ki NoisseviUey by the timely 
co-operation of the Artillery Corps and Infantiy reserves, the I. Army 
Corps succeeded in repulsing the enemy's assault, and thus a great 
danger for the VII. Army Corps was averted, its right wing having 
been threatened by the French offensive movement at this place. 
General Count von der Groben's Cavalry Division, upon the extreme 
right flank of the ai*my, also took an active part in the fight, 
pressing upon the left wing of the French at Servigny. 

The French army fell back slowly, holding successively the 
foi*tified earth entrenchments, lying one behind the other, and thus 
inflicting heavy losses on the German army. 

The 1st Cavalry Division upon the left flank was engaged 
in the same way as the 3rd Cavalry Division upon the right. 
Lieutenant General von Hartmann, who was commanding, directed 


bis attack agaiuBt Mercy <le-Haut, and commenced it uitli his Horse 
battery. It was supported by the extreme riglit flank of the 
second army, the 18th Infantry Division^ which took part in the 
battle when it was at its height. The Fusilier Regiment No. 36, 
captured Jury and stormed Mercy-le-Haut, and a battalion of the 84th 
Regiment took Peltre. Thus tliese troops gained the enemy's flank 
and threatened his line of retreat. 

Towards 8 o'clock in the evening, the French army was 
repulsed on all points, and driven back until it wa^ between the 
outer forts, Quienleu, Les Bottes and St. Julien. The Germans, 
naturally, could not attempt a further pursuit, as they would have 
come under the fire of the fortifications; they bivouacked in the 
position wrested fropi the enemy, in order to insure the oare and 
transport of the numerous wounded, although contrary to the order 
of the Commander in Chief of the first army, who had directed 
that the original position, on the Nied, was again to be occupied 
in the night. The YIIL German Army Corps was not engaged 
in the combat. ' 

In forming a judgment upon the importance of this battle, there 
are many sides to be considered. 

The circumstance that the attack was only begun towai'ds 
evening, and that it was undertaken with a comparatively weak 
force, indicates that, at midday at least, it was not the intention 
to give battle, but that the alteration in the military situation, 
through the depai*ture of the French army, wlueh was noticed by 
the advanced guard, had induced the German attaek. It therefore 
became the duty of the first army to attack the enemy, in order 
to hold him fast in the retreat which he appeared to be beginning, 
but in other respects to maintain the waiting position it had 
taken up. 

The position of the French army on the 14tl), indicated the 
intention of a battle upon the right bank of the Moselle, rather 
that a pi*emeditated retreat. The whole army stood that morning 
in the open country, with an entrenched line, 9 kilometres*) in 

*) 5Vs English miles. 


lengthy their rear covered hy the unassailable foiiifieations of Metz, 
consequently in an excellent tactical position^ carefully prepared 
for fighting. This position raised the ccmjecture^ that the resistance 
originally projected on the Nied against fui*ther pursuit having 
been made^a pitched battle was to be fought here on the 15th, Napo- 
leon's fete day. 

The obstinate, partly offensive fight which was carried on at 
Colombey and Noisseville, has also more the appearance of a 
defensive movement for the purpose of holding the position than 
of a retreating fight. Had the French Direction really intended 
to evacuate the right bank of the Moselle and the fortress, before 
the attack of Goltz's Brigade, it surely, could easily have carried 
out this movement in spite of this attack, when so close to 
the outer-forts, by withdrawing the army completely between the 
fortifications, whilst leaving a rear guard behind. Bazaine should 
either have attacked the first army with his whole force, or retired 
in good time. On the part of the Fi'ench, this battle was a half 
measure, resulting from complete ignorance of the enemy's move- 
ments, and from their own want of design. That the Pi*ussian 
divisions should have been allowed to deploy in front of an army 
of more than 60.000 men, whilst there was not a moment to be 
lost, is an incomprehensible error, its principal fault being that it 
permitted the sun^oiinding movement, by the second army, to be 
oaaried out. 

Various important statements exist concerning the French Army 
Direction, which lead to the conclusion that the retreat upon Verdun 
was a settled affair even before the beginning of the battle, and 
these agree with the report of Major General von der Goltz on 
the afternoon of the 14th. "The enemy has begun his retreat, 
and the advanced guard will therefore attack him.'' 

Again, it is significant that the Emperor left Metz with the 
Prince Imperial at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, and at 10 o'clock 
in the evening of this day sent off a dispatch from Longeville, (under 
Mont St. Quentin, near Metz). "Our army commences to retreat upon 
the left bank of the Moselle. In the morning, our reconnoitring 
patrols had not reported the presence of any hostile Corps. When 
however, the half of our army had crossed the Moselle, the Prusssians 


attacked us with considerable foives &c." Then Marshal Bazaine says*): 
'^ After the brilliant fight at Bomy (on the 14th to the east of Metz) 
the troops engaged in it received the command, on the morning 
of the 15th, to continue tlieir retreating movement upon Verdun, 
in the two directions assigned to them." From this it follows 
that a retreat upon Verdun had been ordered, even before the 
battle. The Marshal further says most distinctly in another publi- 
cation**): "I had instructions to lead tlie army from the right 
bank of the Moselle, where it had been united since the 11th, 
over to the left bank, in order to direct it upon Verdun. In the 
middle of the execution of this movement on the 14th,. which took 
place from both flanks, towards 2 o'clock in the afternoon the 
German troops began the attack upon Mettman's Division of the 
3rd Corps. . . . We had not the satisfaction of frustrating the 
enemy's plan, which was to delay our concentration upon the 
plateau of Gravelotte, and so gain time to arrive there before us.'' 

In another publication***) which appears to be drawn up from 
excellent sources, it is maintained that a council of war was held 
at Metz on the 13th, which led to the decision that a retreat should 
be made upon Chd,lons. Orders were therefore given to commence 
the march of the troops upon the morning of the 14th, and the 
2nd Corps began to retire at 3 o'clock a.m. of this day, but had 
only progressed very slowly. 

If one now considers the observations in the publication men- 
tioned above as proceeding from the Emperor himself "on the 
14th of August, as also upon the 16th, no one had an idea that 
the whole of the enemy's army was before us, and no one doubted 
at Gravelotte that it would be possible to reach Verdun with ease 
upon the following day," it is probable that the resolution for a 
general battle upon the right bank of the Moselle, was definitively 
abandoned when it was learnt that the enemy's reconnoitring patrols 

*) Rapport du Marechal Bazaine, bataille de Rezonville le 6 Aoiit 1870. 

**) Rapport sommaire snr les operations de rarm^e du Rhine du 13 AoCit 
an 29 Octobre 1870, par le commandant en chef Marechal Bazaine. 

*•*) La campagne de 1870 jusqu*au ler Septembre, par un officier de 
Tarm^e du Rhin. 



had arrived in Vigneolles, and in the conntry round Briey, on the 
line of retreat towards Verdnn, and the movementB of the second 
army towards Gorze also became known ; therefore on the morning 
of the 14th or even on the iSth, although attention had been drawn 
to the threatened danger^ it was imagined that there was still time 
enough to escape from it. 

The first army consequently obtained a brilliant result in 
obliging the enemy to show front, when on the point of with- 
drawing. The Battle of Courcelles (Borny) rendered possible 
the surrounding of Metz and the battles on the 16th and 18th. 
Without this conflict the French army would have been able to 
commence its march towards Verdun on the 14th and Idth under 
cover of the fortress, unencumbered by a large number of wounded, 
and with their organization undisturbed by a defeat. In Marshal 
Bazaine's' first named report it says: ^'The delays occasioned 
to the 2nd and 3rd Corps, by participating in the battle of Borny, 
unfortunately prevented their being able to begin their movements 
(the retreat on the 15th) sufficiently early to enable them to com- 
plete it in the time fixed.'^ 

On the morning after the battle the King made a reconnaissance 
of the field of battle in person. From the highest points nothing 
more could be seen of the enemy upon the right bank of the 
Moselle. Thick clouds of dust upon the other side of tlie river 
disclosed the departure of the French army. 


General Map 
MOYEMEHTS from 15* tp IPS' August 1870. 

(March to the battie fields of Vionville aitd Cravelotte.) 

Les fitdire'f^ 

Mafsrtab 1: 300,000. 

It f 



tstMLfBenx^ WWvebiviHm. 

ting eon.' ^Augutt 

vpd) ZKCarpi (Leboeuf) 

The Battle of Vionville on the 16th op August. 

In the KJDg^s dispositions on the 15th of Angnst, fnrtlier 
steps were taken to arrest the departure of the French Army, 
which had been commenced towards Verdun, and to cut off their 
line of retreat, whilst at the same time, measures were taken to 
offer a strong resistance to any ofFensive movement which might 
possibly be contemplated upon the right bank. 

Of the first army, the I. Ai*my Corps remained in the 
position, to the east of Metz, that the whole of the first army 
had occupied on the previous day of battle; the VIL and VUI. 
Army Corps moved off at day break, from their bivouac positions 
before Metz, and marched, in columns to the left, upon the line 
between Arry and Pommerieux which they were to occupy on 
the 16th. 

Of the second army, the 11. Army Corps remained stationary 
at HansurNied and the IX. at Bnchy, having in view the same 
object as the L Army Corps, viz. to hold Metz in check upon 
the east. The Hessian (25tli) Division of the IX. Army Corps 
was pushed forward as far as the village and castle of Mercy 
le Haut. 

All the remaining Corps made progress in crossing the 
Moselle between Metz and Frouard. 

The whole of this ti*act presents considerable obstacles to 
such large masses of troops in columns of march, in consequence 
of the numerous bends of the Moselle, enclosed by steep and 
wooded heights. The river itself, winding through a naiTow 




valley, had only two standing bridges, which the French had 
neglected to break up, at Pont-a-Mousson and at Nov^ant. 

The Moselle hills upon the right bank from Metz to Pont-k-Mousson 
are only small, rising about 1000 feet, with nan'ow, difficult, 
transverse valleys at Corny, Arry and Champey; the hills become 
higher and wider to the south of Pont-a-Mousson , where they are 
intersected by the valleys leading to Dieulouard and Marbache. 

The heights upon the left bank are steeper, and a few 
hundred feet more lofty, their average width is a German mile*). 
They sink gradually towai*ds the west, whilst falling pre- 
cipitously towards the river. There are only a few narrow defiles 
leading from the Moselle, in a north-westerly direction, towards 
the road from Metz to Verdun which the German army had to 
reach. Gorze and Onville are situated in the only two valleys to 
the north of Pont-k-Mousson. 

Thus the Army Corps which had commenced the march 
simultaneously, were obliged, for the greater part, to make consider- 
able detours to the west and south-west, in order to gain gi'ound 
without stoppages and confusion, and then by wheeling to the noi*th, 
had to press forward against the line of retreat of the FrencJi 
army between the Moselle and Meuse hills. The nearer to 
Metz that the corps concerned could penetrate the chain of hills 
so mnch the quicker would they reach their destination. Those 
divisions only, which, being furthest towards the north, had to 
describe the smallest arc, could advance sufficiently far to be in 
time to cross the enemy's line of march, and it therefore depended 
upon their tenacity whether the enemy could be detained sufficient- 
ly long, to allow the remaining corps, which were wheeling round, 
to be brought effectually into operation as they, gradually, came up. 

Pont-a-Mousson^ where the Commander in Chiefs head- 
quarters, of the second army, were established during the whole 
of this detour, was from its situation, the proper focus of all the 
operations. From this place a road traverses both chains of hills 
in an unbroken line, and roads also lead to the noii;h and south 
on both banks of the river. Besides these, the principal roads for 

•) 43/5 English miles. 



the movements of the ti'oops were those which led across from 
Dieulouard and Marbache by Les Saizerais, and all the causeways, 
hihg roads and by ways which run parallel with the Moselle, 
in the approximate direction of Teul, towards Conians. 

The ordering and execution of these marches by so many 
different roads, through a eounti*y in which there was the greatest 
difficulty in keeping up the connection between the corps, is a 
master work in tactics. 

On the 15th of August, Prince Frederick Charles's Army 
Corps, wliich had been appointed for operations upon the left 
bank, occupied the following positions and was canying out the 
following movements, (v. the general map.) 

The III. Army Corps was on the march from Vigny to 

The 6th Cavalry Division was pushed forward, on the right 
flank, towards Metz. 

The XII. Army Corps (Saxons) was stationed at Soigne. 

The X. Army Coi*ps was passing Pont-a<Mousson, the advanced 
guard was beyond it. 

The 5th Cavalry Division was stationed at Thiaucourt, upon 
the left bank of the Moselle, and towards the road from Metz to 
Verdun. This Division was, therefore, tlie most advanced. 

The Garde Corps was stationed at Dieulouard, with the 
advanced guard at Les quatre Vents. 

The V. Army Corps was on the march from the Seille to- 
wards Marbache. 

On the French stdcy the whole army began its departure 
by both roads towards Verduny upon the morning of this day. 

The 2nd Corps was ordered to take the southern high road, 
by Rezonville, Mars-la-Tour and ManheuUes, followed by the 6th 
Corps, the Imperial Guard, the reserve Artillery and. Parks; the 
3rd and 4th Corps were to move by the. northern road by 
Conflans and Etain. The first column was protected by the 
Division of reserve Cavalry under General de Forton, consisting of 
'two Dragoon and two Cuirassier Regiments, and the second column 
by the Division of reserve Cavalry under General du Barrail, 
consisting of four Regiments of Chasseurs d'AMque. 


The points to be reiiched on the 16th of Augost, were Vion- 
ville by the 2nd Coi*ps, Rezonville by the 6th, Doncourt by the 
4thy St. Marcel and Verneville by the 3rd Corps. The Guards 
were to occupy Gravelotte, in reserve. 

After reaching Vionviile, de Forton^s Division was to in- 
vestigate the country towards the south-west, and du BarraiFs 
Division was to hold Jaiiiy, and watch the road to Conflans. 

The backwardness shown in tlie development of the Park 
and Train columns, and the retardment of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th 
Corps occasioned by their participation in the battle of Courcelles, 
prevented this army (which since the commencement of the war 
had been pursued by the misfortune of being surprised in its 
formation), from completing this intended concentration round 
the plateaux of Gravelotte and Vionville in sufficient time. 

The 3rd Corps, which was to have followed the 4th, had 
taken the lead, whilst the 4th was altogether unable to commence 
the march upon the 15th. But even the 3rd Corps was only able 
to reach the plateau of Gravelotte at 10 o^clock in the evening 
of the 15th. 

Only the 2nd and 6th Corps with the Guards arrived near 
the points appointed for them. 

In the course of this day the German Chief command was 
convinced that an offensive movement on the part of the French 
was not to be expected, but that Bazaine's departure for the west 
had been commenced. Orders were therefore given for the further 
advance of the 5th Cavalry Division (Rheinbaben's) at 7 o'clock in 
the moiTiing, towards the road from Metz to Verdun, in connection 
with the Dragoon Guards Brigade (Count Brandenburg II.) which 
had drawn towards the north from Rogeville ; part of the X. A]*my 
Corps was to support this cavaliy by marching upon Thiaucourt; 
and finally, a reconnaissance was to be made upon the left bank 
of the Moselle towards Metz, by portions of the X. Army Corps. 

At 2 o'clock in the afternoon, the lU. Army Corps was 
ordered to cross the Moselle by the bridge which had been laid 
at Champey, and that corps was to advance, on the following day, 
by Gorze to Mars-la-Tour, and the XU. Army Corps, at Nom^ny, 
was also to advance. 


On this day Marshal Bazaine had learnt the movements of 
the enemy upon the left bank of the Moselle, and inferred that a 
strong concentration would be made upon his left flank. As he 
would be able to offer an energetic resistance to any possible 
attack, and was sure of the reciprocal support of his two great 
columns, he issued commands, in the evening, for the corps to 
maintain the positions they then occupied until midday on the 16th, 
in order to await the amval of the 4th Corps. 

The conjecture that an attack would be made, was, without 
doubt, well founded. Prince Frederick Charles issued the follow- 
ing Army order, at 7 o'clock in the evening, at Pont-k-Mousson for 
the 16th of August (v. the general map): 

The III. Army Corps and the 6th Cavalry Division will 
cross the Moselle below Pont-k-Mousson, and reach the road 
from Metz to Verdun at Mars-la-Tour and Vionville, marching 
by Nov^ant-sur-Moseile and Gorze. 

The X. Army Corps and the 5th Cavalry Division will 
continue the advance, by the road towards Verdun, nearly as 
far as St. Hilaire and Maizeray. 

The XII. Army Corps will march from Nom^ny to 
Pont-k-Mousson, with the advanced guard as far as Regn^viile- 
. en-Haye. 

The Garde Corps will march to Bem^court, with the 
advanced guard as far as Rambucourt. 

The IV. Army Corps will march to Les Saizerais and 
Marbache, the advanced guard to Jaillon (upon the road to 

The IX. Army Corps will march to Sillegny in order to 
follow the III. Army Corps, across the Moselle, and by Gorze 
on the 17th. 

The II. Army Corps will march with its head as far 
as Buchy, and will commence the passage of the Moselle on 
the 17th, at Pont-k-Mousson. 

The head-quarters of the army will remain at Pont-k- 

These orders were modified in the evening after receiving 
directions from the Chief head-quarters, dated Herny, 15th of 


August 6*/3 o'clock p. m. y that two corps were to take up a 
position on the line from Arry to Pommerieux on the 16th- The 
IX. Aimy Corps was therefore now directed to continue the 
march on the 16th, to move near to the Moselle, and, in immediate 
connection with the III. Army Corps, to cross the Moselle by the 
bridge which they had repaired, and to continue following the 
III. Corps to Mars-la-Tour, with parts on the 16th and parts on 
the 17th. 

On the evening of the 15 th, the III. Army Corps com- 
vienced the passage of the Moselle at three points. 

The 5th Infantry Division {StUlpnagets) and the 6th Cavalry 
Division (Duke fVilliam von Mecklenburg's)^ being the furthest 
north, crossed by the standing bridge at Nov^ant, the 6th Infantry 
Division {Buddenbrocks) by the bridge laid at Champey; the 
Artillery Corps crossed the river at Pont-a-Mousson in order to 
continue the march towards the north, in junction with the 6th 
Infantry Division, by the. high road along the Moselle. 

These troops had two valleys before them, by which they 
could penetrate through the Moselle hills. The Corps commander, 
Lieutenant General von Alvenslebenj directed that the 6th Cavalry 
Division, after it had crossed the bridge at 5. 30 o'clock on the 
morning of the 16th, should march upon Vionville by Gorze, 
that the 5th Infantry Division should follow it, that the 6th Infantry 
Division and the Artillery Corps should direct their march, by 
Arnaville and Onville, upon Mars-la-Tour. The heads of the two 
Infantry Divisions were to be pushed forward, on the evening of 
the 15th, as far as Gorze on one side, and Onville on the other, 
which points were reached between midnight and 3 o'clock in the 
morning of the 16th. One column had to accomplish a march 
of 1*/^ miles*) from Nov^ant, by Gorze to Vionville, the other 
about 2^/2 miles**) from Arnaville, by Onville, to Mars-la-Tour. 
The X. Army Corps, which was next to these divisions, had to 
march from Pont-k-Mousson to St. Hilaire, 4*/2 miles***). Con- 
sequently these bodies of troops could only form up successively 

♦) 69/io English miles. 
••) IIV2 English miles. 
*••) 20Vio English miles. 


against the Metz and Verdun road. The position of the points of 
imfiration, Vionvilley Mars-la-Tour and St.- liilaire, offered however 


arrived) and Lafont de Villier's Division on the left, with 

August 6</j o'clock p. m. , tLat two corps were to take up 

") iV/i'KngRib iniles. ■' 
•"} 807,0 EnglUh miles. 


against the Metz and Verdun road. The position of the points of 
operation, Vionville, Mars-la-Tour and St; liiiaiie, offered however 
the probability of still being able to stop the enemy, even if he 
had continued his march towai'ds the west with unforeseen rapidity, 
and so had escaped the effective flank attack of the columns 
pressing forwards by Gorze. 

It was about 9. 30. o'clock on the mommg of the 16tk 
when the French vitlettes, upon the plateau of Vionville^ 
perceived the approach of the enemy, (v. the general map.) 

At this moment the army, under the command of Mai*shal 
Bazaine^ was standing with the 2nd Corps to the we^st of Rezon- 
,ville, and with the 6th Corps, in the same line, to the i*ight of the 
high road. Three Divisions and the Cavalry of the 3rd Corps were 
between VemevlUe and St. Marcel, but Mettman's Division was 
still on the march to join his Corps, the 4th Corps was marching 
in the direction of Conflans, but was, as yet, far behind. The 
Guards were at Gravelotte. 

The out-posts had hardly announced the advance of the 
Germans, when two regiments of the 6th Cavalry Division, ac- 
companied by horse artillery, debouching at Vionville, rushed 
upon the bivouac of de Foiiion's and Valabr^gue's Cavalry 
Divisions of the 2nd Corps, and drove them back in rapid flight 
to Rezonville, behind the bivouac of the 2nd Corps. 

At the sound of the cannon General Frossard made his 
Corps seiz& their arms, and occupy the positions which had been 
reconnoitred for this purpose on the previous day. Bataille's 
Division deployed upon the right flank, on the plateau command- 
ing Flavigny, Verge's Division to the left, upon the same rise of 
ground. Lapasset's Brigade, of the 3rd Corps, wheeled to the leffc 
in the rear, in order to watch the extensive woods to the south 
of Rezonville and Gravelotte, and to cover the exit of the defile 
from Gorze. 

Marshal Canrobert also deployed his Corps and occupied 
the ground between the road to Verdun and the village of St. 
Marcel; Tixier's Division on the right, the 9th Regiment of the 
line (the only one belonging to Bisson's Division which had 
arrived) and Lafont de Villier's Division on the left, with the left 


flank reaching to the road. In rear, and parallel to this highway, 
by which it had advanced, Levassor-Dorvars Division (formerly 
Martimpiey's) took up its position. Its mission was to support 
Lapassefs Brigade and to watch the numerous gullies which lead 
from Nov6ant and Ars, through the woods, on to the flank and in 
rear of the army. 

Marshal Leboeufj who commanded* the 3rd Corps (General 
Decaen having been severely wounded in the battle of Courcelles), 
was ordered to wheel up his left wing and seize the assailants 
in flank. 

The French position thus presented important tactical ad- 
vantages. Commanding the plateaux of the heights, so difficult to' 
surmount, in possession of the debouches of all the defiles, master 
of the highi'oads which facilitated the communications of the troops. 
Marshal Bazaine's army had considerable advantages over the 
German army, whose leading troops had to climb laboriously up 
the heights from the narrow valleys. The French, moreover, 
were considerably superior in numbers, and were almost 
completely united, whilst the Germans had to carry on the fight 
for many hours with only the III. Corps and parts of the Corps 
which was next coming up. 

But even at this moment^ in spite of all tactical ad- 
vantages, the situation of the surrounded army^ in a strategical 
point of vieWy might be called a desperate one. Even had they 
succeeded in completely beating the assailants for the moment, and 
throwing them back upon Gorze, they would have been exposed 
to flank attacks, from the coi'ps marching in the direction of 
Mars-la-Tour and St. Hilaire, whilst prosecuting their retreat upon 
Verdun, and would, besides, be exposed to the pursuit of the 
enemy who in the first instance had been repulsed. 

But they did not even succeed in vanquishing the first 
enemy; General von Alvensleben's Corps sufficed to stop them. 
It is true this was only done amid the greatest losses in the 
German regiments, which attacked with matchless pertinacity. 

After a reconnaissance had been made of the enemy's out- 
posts at Tronville and Vionville, Buddenbrock's Division had 
continued its march by Onville in a northerly direction as far as 


the edge of the plateau to the south of Vionville, and there, in 
a eovered position, awaited the approach of the 6th Cavalry 
Division. At 8 o'clock, a second report from the patrols led to 
the supposition that the enemy was departing in a northerly 
direction, and the Division was therefore ordered to continue its 
march in the dii'ection of Mars4a-Tour and Jamy. Upon an'iv- 
ing at Tronville General von Buddenbrock received the command 
to wheel to the right, and to proceed to the attack. 

The 6th Cavalry Division had by this time reached the 
plateau, and by its unexpected attack, had thrown back the enemy's 
cavalry upon Rezonville, which compelled Bazaine to develope 
his army. 

On the German side, it was known that the rising ground 
round Vionville and Flavigny was occupied, whilst the mass of 
the enemy was stationed to the north and east of Vionville and 
at Rezonville. The artillery opened the battle by firing upon the 
French positions. 

By the march towards Tronville, Buddenbrock's Division and 
Rheinbaben's Cavalry Division had become connected. The latter 
had bivouacked at Xonville, had moved off from the bivouac at 
8 o'clock, and had felt de Forton's Division at Mars-la-Toui*. At 
9. 15 o'clock, they trotted on from Puxieux towards Tronville, 
taking with them four battenes, two of which had been supplied 
to them for this day by the Ai*tillery Corps. General von Rhein- 
baben announced that he was to support the attack of Budden- 
brock's Division upon the left flank, by Mars-la-Tour, and at the 
same time to send word to the X. Army Corps, on the march 
to St. Hilaire. A detachment under Colonel Lehmann, commander 
of the 37th Infantry Brigade, was allotted, in addition to support 
this Cavalry Division, on the 16th; the detachment consisted of 
the 91st Regiment, the 1st Battalion of the 78th Regiment, the 
2nd and 4th Squadrons of the 9th Dragoons, and a heavy battery. 
Colonel Lehmann had started from Thiaucouii; at 4, 15 o'clock, and 
moved on to the battle field by Dommartin and Chambley. He 
kept up the connection with another detachment under Colonel 
von Lynker, which had joined the 5th Infantry Division (Stfilp- 
nagel's). This consisted of the 2nd and Fusilier Battalions of the 


78th Regiment, the 1st and 3rd Squadrons of the 9th Dragoons 
and a light battery, and was pushed forwai*d on the 15th, from 
Vandieres to Noveant. StUlpnageFs Division mounted the plateau 
upon the road from Gorze to Vionville before 10 o'clock, hit upon 
the enemy's Infantry to the west of the thicket near Vionville, 
who were endeavouring to reach tlie edge of the plateau from 
Rezonvitle by Flavigny, for the purpose of preventing the Division 
from debouching. A vigorous combat was here carried on between 
the enemy and General von StOlpnagel, supported by Lynker's 
detachment, which ended, after a bayonet fight, in the retreat of 
the French upon Rezonville, and a cessation for a short time. At 
the same 'time, 10. 15 o'clock, Buddenbrock's Division had also 
moved forward, and taken the rising ground in front of Flavigny 
and Vionville after a severe fight, and had then wrested the villages 
from the enemy in the first assault. 

During this engagement, the Artillery Coi*pB had taken up a 
position upon the edge of the heights, in front of the road from 
Gorze to Vionville, with, their left flank near Flavigny. 

As soon as Marshal Bazaine clearly understood the direction 
of the attacks of the two German Divisions of the III. Army 
Corps, one from the south, the other from the west, he completed 
the dispositions afready made, by ordering the Guards to take up 
a reserve position before Gravelotte with their front to the south- 
west, being especially anxious to secure his left flaflk and fearing 
the loss of his line of retreat to Metz. At .the same time he counted 
upon Ladmiraulfs Corps coming up to the assistance of the 3rd 
Corps, which had been wheeled, in order to come upon the teft 
flank of the Germans by Bruville, and at the same time took into 
consideration the safety of his right flank, before the arrival of the 
3rd Corps in the line of battle, by forming de Forton's Division 
in rear of the 6th Corps with its back upon the wood Villers- 
aux-Bois. At the same time, the 12 -pounder batteries of the 
reserve artillery were drawn forward, in order to oppose the 
German artillery in position, facing the 2nd Corps. 

General von Ahemleben had to carry on the fight alone, 
with his Corps, the two Cavalry Divisions and Lynker's 
Detachment against these greatly superior forces^ until 11. 30 


o'clock^ and then only an inconsiderable reinforcement arrived in 
Lehmann^s Detachment at Tronville. 

The X. Army Corps, which was the nearest for the support 
of the in., was widely distributed over the ground to the south 
of the Metz and Verdun road. Lieutenant General von Schwarz- 
koppen, commanding the 19th Infanti-y Division, had still for 
duty under his immediate command , after deducting Lehmann's 
and Lynker's two Detachments, the 38th Infantry Brigade (von 
Wedeirs) and two batteries, and had commenced the march from 
Thiaucourt, by St. Benoit-en-Vo6vre, upon St. Hilaire at 5 o'clock, 
in connection with the^ Dragoon Guards Brigade. The 20th 
Infantry Division (Rraatz) and the Artillery Corps were moved off 
from Pont-a-Mousson at 4. .30 o'clock. The latter, at Thiaucourt, 
was coigmanded to march to the field of battle at 11. 30 o'ch)ck, 
and Lieutenant General von Schwai-zkoppen , at St. Hilaire, at 
12 o'clock. Colonel Lehmann however, being nearer to the field 
of battle, took the road by Cliambley, upon the sound of cannon 
becoming audible, and Count Brandenburg II. that from St. Hilaire 
with the Dragoon Guards Brigade. 

At midday the III. Army Coi*ps held the positions which it 
had gained at Flavigny and Vionville, and with the aid of parts 
of the 6th Cavalry Division which at 1 o'clock in the afternocm 
attacked in the direction of the high road, leaving Flavigny on 
the left, successfully repulsed all attempts made by the enemy to 
retake Vionville. The French General of Division, Bataille, was 
wounded at 12. 30 o'clock, his Division began to yield, and this 
movement drew back part of Verge's Division with it, the left 
wing of which, together witli Lapasset's Brigade, alone remained in 
position. In order to fill up this gap for the moment, Marshal 
Bazaine ordered a chai'ge to be made against the enemy's infantry, 
by the 3rd Lancers and the Cuirassiera of the Guai*d. The attack 
of the Lancers was repulsed, and the Cuirassiers, who charged in 
three echellons, were unable to shake the squares. A squadron 
uf the Braunschweigschen Hussars from Rheinbaben's Division, 
pursued the retiring cavalry as far as a battery of the Guards, 
in the midst of which the Marshal himself was standing, so that ' 


he and his Staff had to draw their swords and engage in the fight 
with bare weapons. 

General von Buddenbrock was now ordered to direct his 
further attack so as to able to press forward to the north of 
Vionville with the mass of his Division, for the purpose of gaining 
ground in the wood situated to the north, whilst liis right wing 
held Vionville and Flavigny. The 24th Regiment supported by 
the 2nd Battalion of the 91st Regiment (Lehmann's Brigade) 
pressed into the wood and carried on a vigorous, obstinate fight, 
with varying success. 

Fresh troops were again brought forward on the French side. 
Picard's Division, the Grenadiers of the 'Guard, under the leader- 
ship of General Bourbaki, gathered together Verge's and Bataille's 
Divisions, and deployed on both sides of the village of Rezonville, 
whilst the left flank was supported by a brigade of Levassor- 
Dorval's Division from the 6th Corps. Deligny's Division, Vol- 
tigeurs of the Guard, was ordered to go forward as far as the Bois 
des Ognons, to occupy it with a Jager Battalion, and to watch 
the d^bouch^s by which the plateau of Gravelotte could be 

At the same time Marshal Leboeuf's manoeuvre, which had 
been ordered at the beginning of the fight, came into effect upon 
the German left flank. The Marshal was on the march to Don- 
court with the 3rd Corps, when he received the order to wheel to 
the left. After carrying this out his front was towards the south, 
and Bnddenbrocks Division was endangered. General von Alvens- 
leben had only two battalions of the 20th Regiment, which had 
been kept in reserve to the south-west of Vionville, and the 91st 
Infantry Regiment which arrived soon after, to oppose to this new 
enemy who was observed ascending the plateau to the south of 
Bruville. Towards 2 o'clock, these troops were placed at the disposal 
of General von Buddenbrock. The 91st Regiment, two battalions 
of which were already engaged, was directed upon the western 
border of the wood, which lies to the north of Vionville. To this 
place it was followed by the 1st Battalion of the 78tli Regiment, 
belonging to Lehmann's Brigade. These battalions afterwards 
took their share in the heavier fighting which some battalions of 


Baddenbrock^s DivisioB had to sustain to the north of Fion- 

The fight in the wood was at the cost of immense sacrifices, 
because the French artillery, composed of batteries brought up from 
the reserve artillery, in a strong position to tlie north of the road, 
fired very effectively on the wood as well as upon the German 
batteries stationed at Vionville. .Buddenbrock*s Division made 
assaults against this position of the enemy, which at length, 
resulted in driving the batteries from tlieir good position and in 
the capture of a gun. 

A second position of the enemy's artillery, upon the plateau 
more to the east, which endangered General von Buddenbrock's 
left flank, in connection with the sniTounding movement, was 
attacked by Bredow's Oavalry Brigade, by order of General von 
Alvensleben. The ground gained was worth maintaining at 
any price. 

General von Bredow advanced with the 7th Cuirassiers and 
16th Uhlans. Received by a most vigoi*ous fire, the Uhlans 
nevertheless broke through the infantry of the right wing of the 
6th Corps, and the Cuirassiera forced themselves into the batteries, 
cutting down the men serving them. Thus they reached the 
second body of the enemy. De Forton's Cavalry Division, how- 
ever, threw itself upon their flank, the firat body of infantry closed 
up behind them, and they only effected their retreat amid the 
greatest losses. 

Upon the right wing, Stttlpnagers Division had maintained 
its position during this combat, and repulsed all the attacks of 
the enemy. 

Between 2 and 3 o'clock, the position of both armies 
was changed from what it had been at the beginning of the 
fighty the French front was no longer towards the west, but 
was now directed towards the souths and was continually being 
more developed upon the line of Mars-la-Tour and Gravelotte; 
the left flank of the Gei^nans was always being further 
surrounded by the French Corps , although , it is it*ue, they 
still victoriously held the positions they had originally taketi 
around Vionville and Flavigny^ as well as those places themselves. 


Marshal Bazaine having observed the sound of cannon from 
Bruville at 2 o'clock, had issued orders to Marshal Leboeuf to 
hold his positions strongly with Nayral's Division, to re-establish the 
connection with the 6th Corps by means of Aymard's Division, and 
to direct Montaudon's Division upon Gravelotte, for the purpose of 
occupying the d^bouch^s from Ars-sur-Moselle. Bazaine made the 
Divisions of the 2nd Corps, which had been repulsed in disorder at 
the commencement, but were now again collected, march to the 
same point, and also caused 12-pounder batteries and mitrailleuses 
to form up in front of the d^bouch^s in order to receive the 
enemy's columns energetically, which would endeavour to come up 
that way. 

This strong occupation was rendered necessary by the 
appearance of the 16th Infantry Division of the VIII. Army Corps, 
which had arrived in Arry at 12 o'clock noon, had crossed the 
Moselle at Nov^ant, and by making a further advance, would 
threaten the extreme left flank and re^r of the French army. 

In the meantime Ladmirault's Corps had continued its march 
as far as the battle field, and his first troops arrived in the line 
of battle at 3 o'clock. Greniei'^s Division , led by General Lad- 
mirault himself, and supported by de Cissey's Division, at first 
strengthened the right wing of the 6th Corps, advanced with it 
by St, Marcel and then directed its attack against the wood to 
the north of Vionville, which was defended by Buddenbrock's 
Division; Clerambault's Division moved forward upon the right, 
accompanied by the 2nd Regiment of Chasseurs d*Afrique and a 
Brigade of Cavalry of the Guard, Lancers and Dragoons, which 
had just escorted the Emperor Napoleon as far as Etain, and had 
now returned on hearing the noise of the battle. 

This entire force, which by this time consisted of the united 
Corps of Leboeuf, Ladmirault and Cam'obert, did not, however, 
succeed in driving the III. Army Corps from its position round 

^/ 3. 30 o'clock, the Commander in Chief of the 11. At*my^ 
Prince Fredeinck Charles, arrived upon the field of battle 
from Pont-d'Mousson, and reinforcement began, gradually, to 
arrive from the X., VIIL and IJC. Corps, 


Kraatz's Division and the Artillery Corps of the X. Corps 
had taken the road from Thiaueourt by Chambley. From here 
the batteries of the Artillery Corps hastened forward in the 
dtreetion of Tronville, and, at about 3. 30 o'clock, took up a 
position to the west of this place, and to the north of the road 
from Vionville to Mars-la-Tour, to oppose the columns of Leboeuf s 
Corps on the march from Bniville. The leading troops of Kraatz's 
Division arrived at Tronville towards 4 o'clock. The Division 
engaged in the fight, which was still being vigorously carried on 
in the wood to the north of Vionville^ aa the battalions moved 
up. Two batteries supported the advandng battalions. 

Eight battaUons of Kraatz's Division were engaged here, 
three of which remained in reserve with two batteries to the 
south of the wood, whilst three battidions and two batteries were 
directed to Flavigny upcm their arrival, and from here took part 
in the fights of Stttlpnagers Division. Of Schwarzkoppen's Division, 
Wedell's Brigade, with which the Division Oeneral was present, 
arrived at St. Hilaire at 12 o'clock, and from here went away on 
the right, to the battle. Towards 4 o'clock, it came upon Leboeol's 
and Ladmirault's Corps at Mars4a-Tour, and attacked them, whilst 
the 16th Regiment byMars-la-Tour, and the 1 stand Fusilier Battalions 
of the 57th Regiment together with two companies of Pioneers, 
leaving Mars-larTour upon the left, went forward against the French 
position upon the rising ground to the north- east of that village. 
The attack was supported by the two batteries of the Division 
which had taken up a position in front of the village. 

As soon, however, as the 16th Regiment had passed Mars- 
la-Tour, the enemy opened a vigorous bombardment which set 
fire to the village. It is true , that the battalions continued to 
advance beyond the heights, and over the ground lying to 
the north-east, against the hill upon the other side, but there 
the onset was broken by strong masses of the enemy's infantry 
who encountered them. The retreat had to be commenced, 
amid severe losses, under cover of the Artillery Corps of the 
X. Corps, which had followed the movements of Wedell's 
Brigade and had taken up a position close to Mars^la-Tour, upon 
the east. 




WedelFs Brigade formed at Tronville, and its falling back 
also canBed a retrograde movement in Kraatz's Division. General 
von Voigts-Rhetz, commanding the X. Corps, ordered the Division 
Commander to return to the heights of Tronville for the reception 
of WedeU's Brigade. Connt Brandenburg II. Guard Dragoons 
Brigade went forward to release ihe retreating battalions from the 
pursuit of the French infantry. During the advance of WedelFs 
Brigade it had taken up a position to the north of Mars-la-Tonr, 
and after that the 1st Guard Dragoons had been detached to the 
right, for the protection of the advancing Artillery Corps. 

When WedelFs Brigade was forced to retreat, this regiment 
endeavoured to check the pursuit by an attack upon the right 
flank of the approaching enemy's infantry. The attack, energe- 
tically carried out, was accompanied by heavy losses. The 2nd 
Guard Drngoons had also, several times, attacked divisions of 
infantry. Further to the left, Rheinbaben's Division with Barby's 
Brigade accompanied by the 13th Dragoons and 10th Hussars, 
had gone round Mars-la-Tour. Here they came upon the French 
Cavalry Brigade of Guards and the 2nd Regiment of the 
Chasseurs d'Afrique, and overthrew tiie enemy in a brilliant attack. 

Buddenbrock's and StalpnageFs Infantry Divisions had maintained 
their positions all through this fight, in spite of the superiority of 
the enemy, by extraordinary efforts on the pai*t of the troops, who 
had been under fire, uninterruptedly, since the beginning of the 
battle, and with heavy losses. When the enemy, after many in- 
effectual assaults against the front of these troops, at last attempt- 
ed to surround them by pressing forward through the woods to 
the south of Reaonville and Gravelotte, he was stopped by paints 
of the VIII. and IX. Army Corps which had joined in the fight 
late in the afternoon, and whose approach by Nov^nt, had been 
learnt by Marshal Bazaine soon after midday. 

After the march from Frontigny, Lieutenant General von 
Barnekow had made his Division, the 16th, rest for one hour at 
Arry (at which place the 11th Infantry Regiment, from the 
IX. Army Corps, was attached to him by oixler of Lieutenant 
General von Wrangel), until 1 o'clock, and then had arrived with 
his leading troops at Gorze, by Nov^ant, at 3. 30 o'clock. 


From here^ after a communicatioii with Lieutenant General 
von Stfllpnagel, three batteries and three squadrons of the 9th 
Hussars were brought forward to the field of battle of the 
5th Division, whilst Rex's Brigade, consisting of the 72nd 
and 40th Infantiy Regiments, in conjunetion with the 11th 
Infantry Regiment, were directed by Cote-Mousa, through the St. 
Arnould wood, upon Rezonville, for the purpose of attacking the 
enemy in flank and rear, in pursuance of the arrangements of the 
Commander in Chief. 

On account of the thick brushwood these regiments were 
ordered to maroh by a road, and their heads only reached the 
outskirts of the St. Arnould wood toward 5 o'clock. The 72nd 
Regiment was ordered to press forwainl out of the wood, in the 
direction of Rezonville, and the 40th Regiment was to be the next 
to follow it 

The attack of this infantry was made under the greatest 
difficulties, caused partly by the rising, wooded country, full 
of hollows, and partly by the strong occupatioti of the positions 
lying opposite. 

As mentioned before, the reserves of the Garde Corps, the 
2ud Corps, and a powerful artillery from the Reserve were 
formed up, and the deployment from the d^bonch^s had to be 
effected whilst opposed to these superior masses. The fight lasted 
here until dai*k, without any considerable acquisition of ground 
on the side of the Germans, yet it had the great result of 
keeping Bazaine in anxiety for his flank and rear, and he, 
therefore, could not venture to employ still stronger masses 
against StttlpnageFs Division. Towards 7 o'clock in the evening, 
this Division had also received some re-infoi*cemeuts from the 
IX. Army Corps. At 12. 30 o'clock in the afternoon. Prince 
Frederick Charles, on receiving the first reports from the 
III. Army Corps, when at Pout - k - Mousson , directed General 
von Manstein to cover the right flank of that Corps and 
to support it generally as far as his strength would allow. 

In consequence of this, the 49th Infantry Brigade, three batteries 
and the Ist Cavalry Regiment from the Hessian Division (No. 25), 

under the leadership of the Division Commander, Lieutenant 



General Prince Louis of Hesse, crossed the Moselle at Noy^ant 
and moved forward npon 6or2e. Two batteries of Stfllpnagers 
Divisiisn were brought out from Gorze, and joined very 
efficaciously in the fight, towards evening, upon the right front 
of the artillery of the Division. The 49th Infantry Brigade, 
which was followed by one battery, was directed through the 
Bois des Ognons. In this thick wood the Ist Hessian Infantry 
Regiment met with resistance from the enemy, and a persistent fire 
fight was carried on there, first with six companies, and later 
on, supported by two additional companies and the 2nd Hessian 
Infantry Regiment, which only ended with the fall of night 
Thus, whilst fresh forces . an*ived j at sunset, in the right centre 
and upon the right flank, the left flank and left centre once 
again went forward. The Prince Commanding in Chief made 
parts of Kraatz's and Buddenbrock*s Divisions advance in a 
north-easterly direction, and the Artillery Corps of the HI. Army 
Corps in the mean time took up a position still fttrther forward. 
Lafont de Villiers' Division, in the French centre, was forced to 
give way, the eagle of the 93rd Regiment was captured and a 
gun taken. The enemy was compelled to make renewed efforts 
and changes of position. Marshal Bazaine stopped the march 
of Montaudon's Division upon Gravelotte, and made him return 
for the support of Lebceufs Corps; he ordered de Forton's 
Cavalry Division, which had retired, to form up afresh at the 
wood of Villers, to the north of Rezonville. General Deligny 
reinforced his 2nd Brigade by four battalions of Voltigenrs, for 
the purpose of supporting and receiving the retiring Grenadiers 
of the Guard upon the heights of Rezonville. General Bonrbaki 
united all the guns at his disposal in the centre, in one battery 
of 54 guns, against the pressing on HI. Army Corps. Vala- 
br^gue^s Cavalry Division charged forward from the Rezonville 
heights, and wrested the lost eagle and gun from the Germans. 

It was towards 8 o'clock when the Prince Commanding in 
Chief made the Brigades of the 6tfa Cavalry Division ride on 
to the attack in the direction of Rezonville, from Flavigny; it 
was here that the Zietensche Hussars, followed by the 16th 
Hussars, rode down the French squares. The 5th Cavalry 


Division also attacked with success, and endeavoured to sniTound 
the right wing of the French at Blara^la-Tour. Tliese were the 
last actions on this day. Darkness setting in put an end to the 
sanguinary battle, (v. the map.) 

Both armies bivouacked upon the long contested positions. 

The loss of the Germans, amounted to about 17,000 men in 
killed and wounded. 

This battle, which .had been carried on with marvellous 
tenacity and boldness on the Oerman side, resulted in the 
frustration of the French plan of operations. Marshal Bazaine's 
army was stopped on its march to Verdun; he had lost the 
main road to the south, and saw the one to the north strongly 
threatened; the organization of the army was so shaken that the 
highest auns now attainable were securing the wounded, complet- 
ing the ammunition, and holding the line of retreat towards Metz, 
a& well as the positions to the west of it. U they were unable 
to force the inconsiderable forces which opposed their further 
advance upon the 16th, still less could they think it possible 
to do so on the following day, for new divisions of the German 
corps, advancing between Hets and Verdun, were aiTiving every 

Consequently the single tactical advantages in the battle 
of Vionville, which the French can claim, are entirely with- 
out significance. The continuation of the .retreat, was alone of 
great importance to the Marshal. Even if he had purchased it 
at the sacrifice of a Corps, a success would Itave been obtained; 
but his having been forced to develope his- whole Army, and in 
the evening his possessing less ground than in the morning, 
constitute a strategical and tactical i defeat. Nevertheless the 
Marshal and France claim the victory, because the iirmy was not 
completely thrown back from all its positions. 

The Battle of Gravelotte. 

Mai*8hal Bazaine has been so frequently and perseveringly 
accused by the French, of ^Hre^ason^ even by men who observed 
the phases of the war comparatively with the object, and with the 
evident endeavour, to arrive at the truth, that this reproach cannot 
be, summarily, passed over. 

It is certainly not worth the trouble to try to refute the 
opinion of those who represent the Marshal as having been bought 
by Prussia : but there are others who cite matters, which in them- 
selves are very possible, as the grounds of their severe judgment, 
and ascribe ambitious views to the Marshal, which he may very 
probably have entertained. 

It therefore comes to this, looking at it in a military point of 
view, could Bazaine have acted otherwise than he did, in the conduct 
of the chief command of the anny of Metz ? The opinions which will 
here be considered, make out that Bazaine' s first, most important 
step towards the ruin of his army, was not renewing the battle on 
the 17th, in order to obtain by force a line of retreat towards 
Verdun. They maintain that Bazaine did not wish to expose him- 
self to* any defeat, in order that (as soon as he had been set free 
from Metz by another army,) he might obtain the regency for him- 
self at the head of an unconquered ai*my, and they ground their 
accusation upon the possibility of a retreat to Verdun on the 17th 
of August. Setting aside the probability, that the General who 
should set Bazaine free from Metz would surely be nearer to the 
Regency than the liberated Bazaine himself, there is still great 


doubt whether BMsame's wno^mm^ enpaUe oi repulsing tbe German 
army on the 17th«..aad jQiat wQdd-lta»uJMuu» 

"What oonoems hb is, that the Corps are l>5>^-i , ^ ^ 

^^*^y. off for pro- 

should set Bazaine "«« "»" «"" -""" "-"' "" u"»rer m tne ' 
Regency tb»n the liberated Baaiine hlBBelf, there is stUl gre.t 


doubt whether Bazaine's army was capable of repnlsiog the German 
army on the 17th, and that wonld have been necessary, in order 
to get to Verdun. A circuitous march by Briey, for instance, would 
only have led to a most successful flank attack on the part of the 

It is true that a more talented General, and one of greater 
energy, would probably have made the attempt to defeat the 
German army on the nth. But such a general would never, in 
the first place, have got himself into such a situation as Bazaine 
had. The chances in favour of the French army, had become 
essentially worse since the previous day. What was impossible on 
the 16th, was still less likely to succeed on the 17th. 

The fault, lay in the short comings of the days from the 12th 
to the 16th of August. On the 17th, they could no longer be 
mended. Thus Bazaine may be called an incapable general, but 
none will call him a traitor after a careful and impartial examina- 
tion of his situation on the 17th of August. Such an examination 
leads one to suppose that Bazaine did not clearly appreciate bis 
position, that he had not judged his opponents intentions con*ectly, 
that he, perhaps, hoped Mac Mahon would in some way or other 
come to his assistance, or that he otherwise deluded himself. 

After the battle of Vionville, the Mai'shal informed the Emperor 
and the minister of war of the situation of the French army at 
Metz, in a dispatch dated the 17th of August; from which he has 
published the following extract: 

'^It is said to-day that the King of Prussia is in Pange, or 
in the castle of Aubigny, that an army of 100,000 men follows 
him, besides the numerous masses of troops which have been 
seen on the road to Verdun, and at Mont-sous-les-Cotes. 

^'What gives a certain probability to this news of the King 
of Prussia's arrival, is the circumstance, that at this moment, when 
I have the honour of writing to your Majesty, the Prussians are 
directing a serious attack against Fort Queuleu. They have 
erected batteries at Magny, Mercy-le-Haut and in the wood of 
Pouilly; even at this moment the fire is pretty lively. 

''What concerns as is, that the Corps are badly off for pro- 


yisions; I will endeavonr to have some brongfat in by the Ardennes 
road, which is still open. General Soleille, who I have sent into 
the fortress, informs me that its snpply of ammunition is small, 
and thiit it can only fdrnish ns- with 800,000 cartridges, which 
is one day's consumption for our soldiers. In the same way and there 
is only a small amount of shot for the 4-pounders, at hand,'' — 
lastly, he adds that ''the pyrotechnic establishment has not the mdans 
necessary lor replenishing the cartridges. 

''General Soleille has been obliged to demand from Paris, the 
indispensable necessaries for the instant repair of the field tools; 
but will they arrive in^ time? .General Frossard's regiments have jko 
more camp equipments and cannot eook their provisions. We will 
do all we can to make up our stores of every description, so 
that we mdy be able to commence our march again in two days, 
if possible. I will take the road by Briey. We will lose no 
tii^ie, provided that no fresh battle frustrates my plans." 

In corroboration of this dispatch, the Marshal writes in his 
^* Rapport Sommaire^'i "Conjectures have been made as to 
the possibility of having continued the march to Verdun in the 
night of the 16th, They are erroneous. Those who formed them 
did not know the situation. The enemy received considerable 
reinforcements every moment, and had sent out troops to occupy 
the position of Fresnes, before Verdun; the French army, which 
had been on the march for several days, had just fought two 
sanguinary battles, and parts of it were still behind, including the 
large army reserve park, which was kept in Toul, and waited for 
a favourable opportunity of uniting with the army, which it 
did not succeed in doing. The army might have received a very 
serious shock, which would have had a disadvantageous influence 
upon later operations." 

This representation of the French Commander in Chief is in 
accordance with the observations, made later, on the German side, 
and with the light thrown upon the subject by a series of dis- 
patches found in the chd,teau of 8t. Cloud, relative to the defective 
equipment of the army in the field and of the fortresses. It is 
however contested and maintained on the other hand, that 500 
waggons with provisions remained untouched at Plappeville. 


li ist howevert cerium^ that after ihe battle of Fi&nviUe 
the French army could not have carried out its march upon 
Ferdun^ even had it been completely supplied with provisions 
and ammunitian, and had had the reserve park at its disposal. 

The road to Verdun could only have been opened on the 
17th of. August by a viotory upon the battle field of the previous 
day. The southern road to Verdun, was n6 longer in possession 
of the Freneh; the northern road lay so near the German front 
th«t) a departure by it was. a manifest impossibility; it would, no 
doubt, have been possible for a well equipped army to reach the 
road by Btiey, on which Ste. Marie-aux-Ghenes lies ; but to arrive 
at Ferdun by it, with the German army against it would cer- 
tainly not have succeeded. Mars-la-Tour lies nearer to Verdun 
than Briey, and the German army oonld, therefore, have arrived 
at Verdun sooner than the French. Besides which, Briey itself 
could be reached by the German troops from Hars-la-Tour , by 
Jamy, just as soon as by the French from Gravelotte. Briey lies at the 
apex of an isosceles triangle, the base of which is formed by the 
points Mars-la-Tour and Gravelotte. 

If therefore the security of the wounded on the French side 
had been abandoned, and the army had retired, even on the night 
of the 16th, by the road to Briey, there is no doubt tliat an 
attack of the German army against Ste. Marie-aux-Chenes on the 
17tb, would have burst in upon the middle of the army, retiring 
in long ;iarrow columns upon the road, whilst at the same time 
a corps, marching by Jarny upon Briey, would have come into 
collision with' the heads of this column. A march of the French 
by Briey would, consequently, have resulted in their being driven 
towards Luxemburg and Belgium, whilst engaging in the most dif- 
ficult retreating fights, but Verdun and a junction with Mac Mahon 
would have been completely lost. 

The situation of the French army would have had this dis- 
asterous termination, if it had undertaken the march by Briey, even 
supposing, that by extraordinary efforts, a suificiency of provisions 
could have been collected and that the numerous wounded, lying 
from Mars-la-Tour to Gravelotte, had been completely disregarded; 


bat all the accounts prove, that the French army was in no way 
capable of marching immediately. 

Without considering the scarcity of provisions, ammunition 
and water, which last the Marshal especially emphasizes, the army 
was greatly disorganized by the battle of Vionville, paying no 
regard to their corps and divisional oombinations. In order to 
meet the unexpected attack upon the left flank, the troops neai*est 
to this side had been deployed, and then were supported by the 
divisions wheeling one after another, without regard to the order 
of battle. The 4th Corps which arrived last, had taken up the 
retiring Divisions of the 6th corps. Picard's Division, the gi*enadiers 
of the Guard had fought intermixed with Verge's and Bataille*s 
Divisions, from Frossard's Corps, to the north of Rezonville. Deligny*s 
Division, Voltigeurs of the Guard, fought at last, in the centre, at 
Rezonville, intermixed with the left wing of the 6th Corps, whilst 
later, part of the Garde Corps, in junction with the divisions of 
Frossard's Corps which had retired, carried on a fight in the wood 
to the south of Gravelotte. Montaudon's Division had become sepa- 
rated from its corps (Leboeuf s) during its engagement at Bruville 
and had been sent on towards Gravelotte. In the middle of the 
march, at 7 o'clock in the evening, it received a counter order, 
and was sent back to Mars-la-Tour, The close, intersected country, 
abounding in woods, especially to the north of Vionville and round 
Gravelotte, must have transformed this mixture of the divisions into 
complete disorder. It was quite impossible to place this army on the 
march under cover of the darkness, which lasted from 9 o'clock in 
the evening until about 3 o'clock in the morning. 

,The Commander in Chief decided to do the only thing which 
appeared to him easy, under the circumstances. He endeavoured 
to take up a position wliich would offer the greatest possible advant- 
ages of ground for the following day's impending battle, and at 
the same time devoted his attention to the care of the wounded, 
and to completing the supply of ammunition and provisions. 

The dispatch quoted above, proves clearly that on the 17th, 
the Marshal was ' still in darkness as to the real importance of the 
battle of Vionville, and the main object of the German plan of 
operations. The conjectured presence of the King at Pange, con- 


sequently upon the right bank of the Moselle, as well as the con- 
straction of batteries in front of Fort Quenleu occupied the French 
Direction ; the whole importance of the blow which had been 
directed upon the left bank, only appears to have become palpable 
to them in tiie battle of Gravelotte. Perhaps no one at the French 
head-quarters believed in the possibility of wheeling an army of 200,000 
men, 360 degrees, upon a radius of 3 miles*), and in the most 
difficult counti*y. They did not believe that the German Direction 
would have been capable of this master-work of energy, arrange* 
ment and rapidity,' because they would have been unable to carry 
it out themselves. The attack at Vionville, on the 16th, was con- 
sidered a skilful diversion by a, relatively, small part of the enemy's 

Thus the battle of Gravelotte, this defensive fight on the 1 8th 
of August, is only a proof of Bazaioe's incapacity. He fought this 
battle, not because it was necessary, but from embarrassment* He 
did not know whether to advance or retire, and consequently 
remained passive in a well chosen tactical position. If, as he has 
been accused of doing, he wished to avoid any opportunity of a 
defeat, and to preserve his army for a later occasion, it would 
have been simpler to have retired upon Metz, and not to have 
fought at all. 

The position taken up by the French army, on the 17th of 
August, extended from St. Pi*ivat-la-Montagne in the north to Roz^- 
rienlles in the south. Thus the only line of retreat by Briey, still 
remaining open, was held by the right wing, and at the same time 
the position offered advantages for a favourable defence. 

The German Direction, on this day, waited for the battle to 
be renewed, presuming that the enemy possessed the same quali- 
ties as themselves, namely a clear appreciation of the military situa- 
tion, and a decisive execution of the measures considered advisable. 
In order to reach Verdun, it was necessary that on the 17th, the 
French army should renew the attempt to overthrow the German 
army, standing in its way. Upon the German side it was impos- 

♦) IIV5 English miles. 


Bible that there could be predse information as to the scarcity of 
ammunition and provisions, which prohibited all operations on the 
part of the French army. Snch a scarcity could not be imagined 
in any army which had just left; the strongest fortress and the 
diief place of arms in the country, and was quite incredible. 

As early as 4. o'clock, on the morning of the 17th of August, 
Prince Frederick Chaiies, who had - returned towards Gorze, in the 
evening after the battle, appeared again upon the battle field, and 
rode over it, in (Hrder to reconnoitre the positions and movements 
of the enemy. The King, whose head-quarters had been removed to 
Pont-a-Mousson on the 16th, arrived soon after 6 o'clock, upcm the 
heights of Gorze, inspected the field of battle, and meeting the 
Prince, took his reports. In the course of the morning the troops 
which had bivouacked in their positions of the 16th, the X. and 
III. Army Goipd, the cavalry divisions under Duke William and 
Rheinbaben, parts of the VIII. Corps and the Hessian Regiments 
were joined by the IX. Corps which took up a covered position to the 
south of the road from Gorze to Vionville. A strong line of French 
tirailleurs advanced against the German lines from Rezonville; 
they did not, however, open the expected battle, but were, appa- 
rently, intended to conceal the retreat of the corps into the new 
position. Cavaliy patrols pushed to the front, soon brought this 
departure to tiie knowledge of the King. 

The immediate pursuit of th^ enemy with the forces present, 
was not in accordance with the plan of operations. A destructive 
blow must be given, and therefore the arrival of the remaining 
corps must be waited for, before beginning a new battle. 

These were approaching by forced marches. The VII. and 
VIII. Army Corps, had been ordered to follow immediately after 
the IX. over the Moselle, the Garde Corps pursued the direction 
of' Mars -la -Tour, the Saxon (XII.) Army Corps even marched 
to this place from Pont-^-Mousson, and arrived in the rendez-vous 
position shortly after midday, whilst the Guards moved into bivouac 
at Mars-la-Tour, near the left of tiie Saxons, at 3 o'clock. 

Reconnaissances brought information that the French army 
was encamped on the plateaux to the east of Gravelotte, and 
was in movement in the neighbourhood of Verneville, whilst their 


rear guards had passed the road from Doneonrt to Conflans; con- 
sequently, there was an end to all expectation of a battle on this day. 
In conformity with the leading idea of detamwg the left 
wing of the French at Gravelotte^ until the right could bt^ 
surrounded by the German left mng^ the VII. Army Corps 
was directed to try and feel the enemy. General von Zastrow, 
therefore took up a position at Ars-sur- Moselle, and along the 
road leading from this place to Gravelotte. He pushed foi*ward 
the 7th Jager Battalion into the Bois de Vaux, and extended 
his line of outposts as far as the plateau to the south of Grave- 
lotte, Here it joined the out posts of the VIH. Corps, which 
was stationed at Gorze. It could be distinctly seen that the 
enemy had brought up several batteries to command the open ground 
round -Gravelotte. 

The outposts of the second army joined on to those of the 
YIII. Army Corps ^ which formed a line from the Bois des 
Ognons, passing, south of Rezonville, to the northern edge of the 
wood which lies on the noiiih-west of VionvillC; and from there as 
far as the Yronbach. 

Towards 2 o'clock, the King, upon the height to the south of 
Flavigny, directed General von Moltke, the Chief of the Staff, to 
issue the following dispositions for the next day: 

"The second Army will advance at 5 o'clock to morrow 
morning, the 18th, in echellon, between the Yronbach and 
the Gorzebach (the chief part between Ville- sur-Yron and 
Rezonville). The VIII. Army Corps will conform to this 
movement, upon the right flank of the second Army. It 
will be the duty of the VII. Army Corps, at the commence- 
ment, to secure the movements of the second Army from 
any possible attempts made by the enemy on the side of 
Metz. Further directions will depend upon the measures 
taken by the enemy. Reports for his Majesty the King to 
be sent, at first, to the height, south of Flavigny." 
From this disposition it is evident that the departure of the 
enemy by Briey, was no longer considered possible, although a 
battle was expected in the positions in which it actually took place 
on the 18th. 


The King returned towards evening to Pont-k-MousBon, and 
Prince Frederick Charles established his head-quarters in Bruxi^res. 

No alteration took pla^^e in the situation of affairs until the 
•morning of the 18th of August, no disturbances had taken place, 
and the Prince issued the following dispositions, in accordance with 
the an*angements made by the King on the previous day: 

"The second Army will continue the advance to-day, endea- 
vouring to force back the enemy from his line of retreat, 
and to beat him wherever he may be found. 

"The Army will advance in echellon from the left of the 
XII. Army Corps, which will march at 5 o'clock, in the 
direction of Jarny, the Garde Corps next to it on the right, 
in the directidn of Doncourt. The IX. Army Corps will 
move off at 6 o'clock, upon the right rear of the Garde 
Corps, and march between Rezonville and Yionville, leaving 
St. Marcel close on the left in its further advance. 

"The VIII. Army Corps will conform to the echellon 
movement in the right rear of the IX. Army Corps. 

"In the second line, the X. Army Corps, with Rhein- 
baben's Cavalry Division, will follow the XII. Army Corps, 
the III. Army Corps and Duke William of Mecklenburg's 
Cavalfy Division, will follow between the IX. and Garde 

"The advance is not to be made in columns of march, 
but the divisions will move forward disposed in separate 
masses. The Commander in Chief will be in front of the head 
of III. Army Corps." 

In conformity with these dispositions, General von Steinmetz 
left the VII. and VIII. Army Corps, in the positions which they 
had occupied on the 17th. 

The second Army moved off at the time appointed (v. map I.). 
The King had left Pont-a-Mousson as early at 4 o'clock in the 
morning, and driven towards Gorze, where he mounted his horse 
and arrived upon the height of Flavigny at 6 o'clock. 

The reports all agreed that the enemy was not departing 
towards the north, but had concentrated his principal strength to 


the west of Metz. Gravelotte was not occupied by biDi, aiid the 
rear guards had quitted BruviUe and St Marcel. 

Apparently the French army was now in the hopeless situa- 
tion, which had been the aim of the German operations. It must< 
either fight or retire into the fortress. The exact position that it 
had taken up was not, however, known, and tlie advance of the 
second Army towards tiie north was provisionally arrested until 
dear information upon this point had been obtained. 

The IX. Army Corps, took up a position, at 8.30 o'clock, io 
the south of the road from Gravelotte to Doncourt, with orders to 
reconnoitre towards St. Privat-la-Montagne and AmanvUlers, and 
also to establish a connection with the Garde Corps. The latter 
was ordered at the same time to halt at Doncourt, the XII. Army 
Corps at Jarny, and the X. at Bruville. 

Cavalry were pushed forward by Giraumont and Jouaville 
upon Coinville, near the road to Briey, upon Ste. Marie-aux-Ch^ues, 
and in the direction of the heights of Amanvillers. 

Soon after 10 o'clock, the position of the French army was 
accurately! ascertained, (v. map I.) 

The undulating plateau on the west of the Moselle, with hills 
and dales extending in every direction, forms several long ridges 
in front of Metz, the occupation of which were favourable for the 
French army. Excellent defensive positions w^e formed by this 
chain of heights lying, one behind another in front of the fortress, 
towards the noii;h-north-west, extending from Malancourt by St. Privat- 
la-Montagne, Leipzig, and Moscou, as far as Ara, as well as by 
the heights of the Bois de Saulny, and the plateaux of Plappeville 
and St. Queutin, lying still nearer to Metz. .Marshal Bazaiue had 
occupied the first line, and held his reserves in i^adiness upon the 
plateau of Plappeville. His position was very well chosen, and 
every thing was done to increase its natural strengtli by artificial 
means. The ground lyii^g in front of the heights was for the 
most part free and open, so tliat the assailants would have to pass 
over a long tract, without protection from the enemy's fire, whilst 
the defended positions were provided with cover trenches and gun 
emplacements one above another. The villages of St. Pi*ivat-la- 
Montague, Ste. Marie-aux-Ch^nes, St. Ail, and Amanvillers as well as 


numerous farms, were especially adapted for the support of the 
defence along the whole front. The buildings are in general 
massive, the roofs covered with tiles, the gardens and partly even 
the fields enclosed with walls. All this stonework offered oppor- 
tunities for keeping up a rapid fire en nuuse, with the excellmit, 
long ranged rifies of the French infantry, whilst under safe cover. 
The position was especially well fortified upon the right flank ; the 
village of St. Privat, on high ground, with about 100 houses and 
farms, formed the principal point d'appui ; here the 6th Oorps was 
placed, to which the Guards Grenadier Division was sent, later, as 
a reserve. Upon the left flank it joined the 4th Oorps, which, 
again, was united with the 3rd; the 2nd corps formed the left 
wing, whilst the Guards with the Reserve Artillery, were formed up 
upon the plateau of Plappeville. The object of this reserve was 
to support the front line, but at the same time to foil any possible 
attack against the communications with Metz, by Yaux and St. 

The German corps received orders towards 10 o'clock, to 
re-commence their movements. The IX* Corps was to advance to 
Vemeville and La Folic, the Garde Oorps to investigate the country 
towards Amanvillers and St. Privat, the XII. Oorps was' also to 
march towards the road to Briey for the purpose either of stop- 
ping the enemy, if by chance be had begun to depart in the direo- 
tion of Ste. Mane-aux-Oh^nes, or of attacking his position. The 
VII. and VIII. Oorps, were to begin a detaining fight at Grave- 
lotte, carrying it on until the left flank could be surrounded. 
The II. Army Oorps, which had left Pont-a-Mousson at 2 oVlock 
in the morning, was to follow the first Army and the III. and X. 
Army Oorps to follow the second Army in the second line. 

By these dispositions the fight which wa^ now about to 
begin, took the character of a front attack which was to be 
brought to a crisis by a pressure upon the right flank of the 
French at St. Privat. 

In consequence of the nature of the ground, the battle consisted 
chiefly in i&fantry and artillery fights for single positions, and 
the German artillery was of even greater importance than usual, 
for not only did it open the battle by firing for an hour, along 


the whole line, but It was also frequently obliged to stippoi^t the 
infantry, who after having begun to attack the enemy*8 positionB 
were unable to approaeh nearer on account of the bverpowering 
fire of the concealed French infantry. 

The centre of the French Army was attacked first, by the 
batteries of the IX. Corps in position upon the heights near Fer- 
nevflle-j this was at midday. 

The corps was marched upon the farm Caulre, leaving St. 
Marcel upon the left, and had established itself in the wood to 
the north of liiis place, the Bois de la Cusse, as far as Anoux- 
la-Grange , whilst the enemy opened a vigorous fire of shell and 
shrapnel, against the advanced troops, fi*om its batteries at Bte. 
Mane, St. Privat and Amanvillers. 

The situation i*emained the same here, in the centre, until 
4 o'clock in the afternoon. Tlie fii'C of the artillery corps of the 
IX. Corps, supported by the batteries of the infantry divisions, 
endeavoured to shake the enemy; the infantry firmly held the 
positions they had occupied, and served as a protection to the 
artillery against the assaults which were attempted from time to 
time. On the side of the French, a continued concentrated can- 
nonade was directed against the artillery and the wood, which 
occasioned considerable losses to the Germans. At last, at 
4 o'clock, the German side obtained the preponderance of fire 
by the arrival of the batteries belonging to the Garde Corps, upon 
the left wing. 

General von Steinmetz, who was opposed to the left wing 
of the French, gave orders for the attack, when the thunder of 
cannon sounded across from Verneville, and announced the engage- 
ment in the centre. The Artillery of the VII. Corps deployed upon 
the heights to the south and east of Gravelotte, and then advanced 
under the most vigorous fire of the enemy, as far as the edge of 
the plateau, where in the course of about an hour it silenced the 
French batteries opposed to it. Goltz's Brigade, which was stationed 
at Ars-sur-Moselle for the security of the valley of the Moselle, had 
previously been engaged in the fight upon the exti'eme right flank. 
It had taken the village of f-'aua; in the Moselle valley and then 
stormed the heights of Jvssy^ and kept possession of them. The 


main body of the infantry of the VII. Corps^ remained provisionally 
in a covered position in the wooded valley which separates Grave- 
iotte from the farm Point-du-Jour. Simnitaneously with the advance 
of the VII. Army Coi*p8, the VIII. Anny Corps commenced to move 
forward in an easterly direction from Resonville. It, at first, 
deployed a strong force of artillery npon the road in its front, 
whilst the 1st Cavalry Division took up a concealed position in rear, 
and the infantry advanced to the attack of the wood lying in front? 
which was strongly occupied. Here a very sanguinary engage- 
ment took place for an hour, in which, owing to the ground being 
of such a nature that it was impossible to overlook it, the con- 
tending parties fell into complete confusion, so much so that some 
parts of the German line which met with the most obstinate resis- 
tance, were only able to press slowly forwards, whilst other parts 
soon reached the eastern edge, and debouching from- it, even began 
the attack upon the further heights and the farm of St, Humbert. 
This last was finally taken by storm and mainlined, after repeated 
attacks and heavy losses, whilst all efforts to press further forward 
up to the edge of the heights failed in consequence of the strongly 
occupied cover trenches,, owing to which the infantry fight here 
came to a stand. Soon after 3 o'clock, there was a pause in the 
fight upon this flank, as the French artillery were silent, and the 
Germans could not see any object in their front, for an efficacious 
bombardment. General Steinmetz could not help assuming that, 
possibly, the enemy was withdrawing, and therefore ordered Hart- 
mann's Cavalry Division to cross the defile in front and to follow 
the departing enemy, and eventually, to furnish information as to 
their new positions. Towards 4 o'clock, therefore, two horse bat- 
teries, and the 4th Uhlan Regiment advanced across the defile and 
formed up half-right. Now, however, it became evident that the 
enemy had not withdrawn, but had only concealed themselves from 
the hot artillery fire. The ti'oops which had gone forward, fell 
instead into a murderous infantry fire, supported by guns and 
mitrailleuses. Numerous killed and wounded marked the road 
which these brave troops had taken, nevertheless both batteries 
dismounted under the enemy's fire and powerfully replied to it, 
whilst the cavalry took up a position in rear for their support. 


These two batteries held out in their exposed position until far 
on in the evening, and were only brought back late by the assistance 
of reserve horses sent after them; over half the men and horses 
were left upon the spot. Towards 4 o'clock, the artillery upon 
the heights of Gravelotte re-opeued fire, the enemy having again 
shewn themselves on this advance being made, and with such good 
effect that they wei*e deterred from any further attempts; they 
also set fire to the farms lying within their range, so that the 
troops holding them were driven out, and in their depaiture were 
most effectively cannonaded. The thick black clouds from the 
burning farms were now added to the smoke of the powder which 
rose up from afar all over the field of battle. 

In conformity with the dispositions of the Chief Com- 
mand y the German right wing ^ thus held the enemy fast 
even to the centre, without pressing him too strongly ^ until 
the le/t wing was able to surround the French right, on the 
other side. 

The French, undoubtedly, opposed the execution of this idea 
of battle, with gi'eat tenacity and bravery, but without the initiative 
of a counter plan, and without success. In general they remained 
on the defensive, and submitted to the military situation imposed 
upon them by the Geiman side, as had been the case from the 
beginning of the war. 

It is true they made use of the utmost exertions to contest 
the possession of the woods in the centre with their assailants, for 
they recognized the importance of this point d*appui to the whole 
German order of battle, but their struggles here had the least 
prospect of success, because the reserves could have been brought 
into use in case of necessity, with the gi^eatest rapidity. 

The IX. Army Corps, however, fought the battle alone until 
the engagement of the Guards and Saxons. 

The French infantry columns advanced, several times, against 
the Bois de la Cusse after preparation had been made for the 
attack by a fearful cross fire of guns and mitrailleuses. But the 
German troops, althouglj terribly weakened by the shots striking 
in the wood (the Army Corps lost about 5000 men in this battle), 
kept their ground through all the attacks, and drove the French 



back into their fortafied positions. In the same way the vehement 
attacks of the French infantry against tlie Prussian batteries npon 
the heights of f^emevfile, were repulsed, and in a pursuit of the 
French, who again gave way, the Fusilier battalion of the 85th 
Regiment (Holsteiner) reached even as far as the height in front 
of the village of AmanviUerSj where, however, it lost half its men 
and its commander. 

A furious combat was also carried on around the Bois des 
Geniveauo) J opposite the farms La Folic and Leipzig. Here 
the 18th Division (WrangeVs) was engaged. The enemy had occu- 
pied the edge of the wood in force, and had strengthened it with 
deep trenches and earth rampaiiis so that the assailants could be 
received by a fire en etages, besides which the approach was com- 
manded by mitrailleuses. In spite of this a repeated attack was 
attempted, wliich although not completely successful, led to the 
occupation of the south part of the wood as well as of the farm 

The severe fighting, in which the IX, Army Corps had been 
involved, induced Prince Frederick Charles, who had been present 
and had then gone to the Garde Corps, to place the 3rd Garde 
Infantry Brigade, with the Garde Schiitzen battalion, and a battery 
at the disposal of General von Manstein. 

The din of the combat at Verneville, made the Garde 
Corps hasten its advance, towards Batilly, which had commenced 
at 10.30 o'clock from Doncourt. From Batilly, their march was 
directed to the eastward, against the positions of SL Privat, 

The line of hills which stretches from Amanvillers by St, 
Privat and Boncourt to Malancourtj lias in a northerly direction 
with a slight forward bend towards the west. The general height 
of the hills at Amanvillers is 1150 feet, at St. Privat 1028, and 
at Malancourt 1278 feet The western slope is pretty steep at 
the commencement, 6 — 8 degrees, becoming more gradual farther 
on, and is divided into different sections by some small descents. 
Ste, Marie-auX'Chenes lies upon a projection of the slope which 
forms a kind of plateau. A small brook rises in the village, whicli 
flows through a valley in a northerly direction, enclosed by steep 


slopes. Towards the east two small neighbouring valleys open into 

mtimatllmaHtdatmmmmink^ at first 

r ^ « 

«Mt«A t>a\f« ■PSl>* «•«»>«» •»««•> V. r - • 

and the Garde Jager Battalion) had arrived 

^e to 

back into their fortified positions . In the Mme vny the veliemeiit 
attacks of 1 


flowB throiig)) a valley in a northerly direction, encloBed by steep 


slopes. Towards the east two small neighbouring valleys open into 
it. The western dedivity of this pi*ojeetlng plateau sinks at first 
in levels, forming several trays and inflections, but afterwards des< 
cends with steep sides into the valley as far as the brook of 
Habonville. The hamlet of St. Ail lies upon the road to the north 
of Habonville half way to Ste. Mai*ie-aux-Chenes, with about 140 
inhabitants, consequently about 30 houses aad farms. The village 
of Ste. Marie-aux-Ohdnes contained 330 inhabitants and, perhaps, « 
60 houses and farms ; it resembled an irregular pentagon, the high 
road to MontmMy forming a street through it, from which a second 
street branches off at the church in a westerly direction. 

The village of St, PHval'la-Montagnej 2500 paces to the 
east of Ste. Marie-aux-Chenes, lies a little to the north of the 
high road which leads straight from Metz. It has an open square 
near the church, and four village streets leading from it. The 
little cluster of houses called Jerusalem lies upon the high road. 
The village contains 480 inhabitants with about 100 houses and 
farms; there is a thicket upon the ridge of the heights to the 
west of the valley, through which the brook flows which rises at 
Habonville, and to the south of it is the village of Batilly numbenng 
about 200 inhabitants. The French artillery, in position at the 
foot of the steep slope of St. Privat together with the infantry in 
the gardens and buildings of Ste. Marie-aux-Ch^nes, held the country 
under fire as far as the edge of the valley. 

This uncommonly difficult section of the great battle field, 
most skilfully prepared for defence, was the object of the opera- 
tions of the Garde Corps and the Saxons. 

The Garde Corps commenced the combat, first of all, at 

The advanced guard of the 1st Garde Infantry Division, the 
Garde Fusilier Kegiment, advanced with loud hunahs and made 
themselves masters of the thicket, on the edge of the brook at 
Habonville, and of the village of St. AiU ^t the first assault. 
Shortly before midday, the 1st Garde Infantry Division (the 1st 
and 3rd, 2nd and 4th Foot Guards, the Garde Fusilier Regiment, 
and the Garde Jager Battalion) had arrived in the little ravine to 


the west of St. Ail. The whole of the artillery corps opened, simul- 
taneously, a vigorous fire upon the commanding position of St, PnvaL 
During this attack, and throughout, no cover was to be obtained. 

A murderous fire was conducted by the infantry, who were 
almost invisible to the Germans, from the massive buildings and 
from behind the stone walls, in conjunction with the artillery in 

An infantry advance at this place was, for a time, not to be 
thought of. 

The General Commanding, Prince Augustus of Wuiiiemberg, 
ordered the fight to be carried on solely by the artillery, in order 
to shake the enemy's position, and to wait for the arrival of the 
2nd Garde Infantiy Division and the Saxons. 

Major General Prince Hohenlohe, Commander of the Artillery, 
who had already had nine batteries in position, firing since 1 
o'clock, and afterwards brought two more horse batteries into line, 
and later three batteries of Budritzky's Garde Division, now 
selected a new position nearer to that of the enemy, and 
carried out the task entrusted to him with heroic endurance. 

At 2.30 o'clock, the Commander in Chief of the second Army, 
Prince Frederick Cliarles, who, had been upon the hill to the west 
of Habonville since 2 o'clock, received the report from the Crown 
Prince of Saxony that the XU. Corps was advancing to the attack 
upon Ste, Marie with the 24th Infantry Division, and with the 23 rd 
Infantry Division, was on the point of surrounding the right flank of 
the French by Coinville, and the small wood situated between that 
place and Roncourt. 

At this time several batteries of the Saxon Corps were in posi- 
tion to the west of Ste. Marie, and directed their fire against this 
village, which was still occupied by the enemy. 

The 47th Infantry Brigade, Colonel von Leonhardi, deployed 
in a north-westerly direction for an attack upon this place, and at the 
same time the advanced guard of Pape's Garde Division was on the 
march against the village from St. Ail. 

After a short fight Ste. Marie was taken. 

The Saxon Artillery Corps now moved forward into a new 
position to the north of the village, against St, Privat and Roncourt, 


The Garde Artillery, in position between St. Ail and Habon- 
ville, had meanwhile silenced the enemy's artillery by their eflPec- 
tive fire, so that at 4 o'clock, Prince Hohenlohe was enabled to 
bring up the whole mass of his fouiiieen batteries, in echellon, 
nearer to St. Privat. 

The artillery of the IX. Corps had also silenced the enemy's 
artillery at Montigny and Amanvillers, but had suffered consider- 
able losses, and fifteen guns were hors de combaL Here the farm 
of Champenoisj was taken by the Hessian Jager Battalion, and 
Wrangel's Division held the captured Chantrenne, Verneville, and 
the Bois de la Cusse, against all attacks of the enemy. 

Of the 25th Division, Prince Louis of Hesse's, the 49th Bri- 
gade was stationed in the Bois de la Cusse, the 50th Brigade was 
in resei*ve between this wood and the Bois Deseuillons, with the 
Hessian Cavalry Brigade near it. 

Of the reserves of the second Anny, the HI. Army Corps ar- 
rived at Verneville at 3 o'clock, and the X. Corps at Batilly at 
2 o'clock. The former made the Artillery Corps take up a posi- 
tion between Verneville and the Bois des Genivaux, whilst the 
latter halted. 

The Saxoji Army Corps^ had a very long . distance to 
march, and only reached the line between Ste. Marie and Joeuf 
at 5 o'clock. 

The advanced hour of the day did not allow time to wait 
for the execution of the movement which had been begun against 
Roncourt by Montois ; instead, it appeared necessary to bring on a 
crisis now with the Gai*de Corps, whose infantry was still waiting 
for the order to attack. The departure of the whole army ap- 
peared to be commencing, as large bodies of the French were 
already moving between St. Privat and Roncourt, and dusk coming 
on would have aided the enemy in so doing. 

Prince Augvstus of fVurtemberg therefore gave orders at 
5 o'clock^ for the attack upon St. Privat. 

The 4th Garde Infantry Brigade (the Regiments Franz and 
Augusta) first received this order. They deployed and advanced 
up the edge of the height for the assault, the artillery fire with 


their iitinogt efforts only masking them slightly. The enemy offered 
the most tenacious resistance, unseen by the storming Grenadiers, 
they opened such a fearful, rapid, long-ranged fire, from their 
secure positions behind houses, walls, and from ti*enches, that in 
a few minutes the attacking troops suffered most tremendous losses, 
especially in officer^. The. two regiments, nevertheless, pressed 
forwai*d iiTcsistibly. 

In the meanwhile, the 1st Garde Infantry Division had also 
deployed, and a quarter of an hour later, engaged in the fight upon 
the left flank of the Garde Infantry Brigade, whilst their advanced 
guard still firmly held the village of St. Marie-anx-Chenes, which 
had been ipreviously taken in the course of the afternoon. The 
Garde Fusilier Regiment was, however, soon brought forward in 
order to render additional support to the left wing. The 1st 
Garde Infantry Brigade, under the command of Major General von 
Kessel (the 1st and 3rd Regiments of Foot Guards), and the 1st 
Company of the Garde Pioneers advanced upon the left flank, 
whilst close to them upon the rigfit, the whole of the 2nd Garde 
Infantry Brigade, (2nd and 4th Foot Guards) under the command 
of Major General Baron von Medem, stormed St. Privat. The 
Generals and the Staff remained on horseback at the head of their 
troops, 1>nt in a shoii; time all their horses were shot under them. 
For about 1500 paces in circumference, the ground and all the 
troops were overwhelmed by . a regular hail storm of bullets. 
The crash of the explosions drowned all words of command, the 
smoke of the powder together with the concealment of the enemy 
prevented the asfiailants from taking any aim and deprived them of 
the power of making use of their fire arms. 

The General Commanding who had been present during the 
first part of the fight near the artillery corps, and at the beginning 
of the infantry attack had gone along the ' front of the 4th Garde 
Infantry Brigade to the western exit from Ste. Marie, could observe 
from here, how severe were the losses already suffered, and decided 
to check the further onset of the resolute Guards still pressing 
forward, until the engagement of the Saxons could take effect. He 
commanded that every thing should stop. General von Pape, the 
Divisional General, at this moment's pause, hurried along the front 


of the troopfi to encourage them ; in this ride he lost two aides-de- 
eamp, and twice his horse waA shot under him. The loss of the 
Guards in officers and men was enormous. 

The artillery now carried on the figiit aione, with admirable 
enduranoe, although themselves under the infantry fire. St. Privat 
began to burn at several points, but the French, nevertheless, main- 
tained their positions with courage and resolution, and their fire 
was not in the least diminished. 

The Saxon Artillery were, at first, formed up upon the left 
fiank of the Guards, and had opened fire against the enemy, at a 
great distance, between St. Privat and Roncourt. The Saxon 3rd 
Infantry Brigade (Regiments 104 and 105) had then taken Ste. 
Marie -aux- Chines ^ in conjunction with the 1st Prussian Garde 

The XII. Army Corps thus obtained a firm point d'appui for 
its wheel to the right. It had continued its mov^ement upon Ron- 
court. When the Artillery corps, endeavoured to take up a 
position against this place, such a hot fire was opened from the 
walls of the fields, and from the wood which projects between 
Malancourt and Roncourt, that it was necessary in the first instance, 
to take the wood. 

The 7th Infantry Regiment No. 106, attacked the outskirts, 
although the greater part of it had been detached for other objects, 
and took the wood with heavy losses, which it maintained with 
the assistance of the 2nd Jager Battalion and other I'cinforcements 
who had taken Malancourt, Thus the country was free and 
sixteen batteries were immediately deployed against the French 
right flank. 

' The French adhered to their positions with the most te- 
nacious energy, but all resistance was in vain against the power- 
ful fire of the Saxon Artillery, carried on with the greatest cer- 
tainty and calmness. 

At 6.30 o'clock, the Saxon Grenadier Brigade advanced^ and 
a quarter of an hour later, Roncourt was taken. At the same 
time the Prussian Guards, who had got breathing time daring the 
Saxon attack, again renewed their powerful asaault againgt St, 


Private in which they were supported by the Saxon 45th Infantry 
Brigade, Major General von Craushaar's, and the batteries of the 
23rd Division, Prince George of Saxony's. The Artillery and 
Kraatz's Division belonging to the X. Army Corps, were also 
moved forward from Batilly for the decisive blow. The Prussians 
on the south-west, pressed into the fortress-like village, every 
house of which was defended with exasperation, some what earlier than 
the Saxons on the north. The village was gained after a most 
desperate struggle. The enemy fled in the direction of Metz, pur- 
sued by some of the Garde Battalion)^. General von Cranshaar had 
fallen in the battle. 

Thus, was the fig hi upon this wing decided at 7 o'clock. 
The French Army was in consequence cut off from all possi- 
bility of escape. 

But upon the German right wing, the fight still wavered, 
and in the centre the battle had also come to a stand. When 
General von Manstein observed the attack of the Guards upon his 
left flank, soon after 5 o'clock, he ordered the Infantry to break 
forward towards Amanvillers from the Bois de la Cusse; the 3rd 
Garde Infantry Brigade, which had been placed at his disposal, 
was directed to go forward to the south of the little wood. 
Here also, the troops were obliged to advance over quite open 
ground, and they suffered the severest losses. They only suc- 
ceeded in gaining ground upon the left wing, and were able to 
occupy the heights to the west of Amanvillers, whilst upon the 
right wing, General von Blumenthal had to be satisfied with main 
taining his position at Chantrenne. 

. The Artillery Corps only of the III. Army Corps, stationed 
between Verneville and the Bois des Geuivaux, with a further 
reinforcement of ten batteries, had been engaged in this fight. 

The first Army had a difficult position at Gravelotte, as the Po- 
meranian Army Corps which was appointed to reinforce it was still 
unable to draw near. At 7 o'clock, when the victory inclined to the 
German side on the other wing, by the capture of St. Privat, the 
French here made a vigorous onslaught. Strong columns, with dense 
and numerous swarms of Tirailleurs in front, amid wild cries 
and incessant firing, came out at full speed from behind the 


heights of RozerieuUes, poured into the valley of the Bois 
de Vaux and the Bois des Ognons, and endeavoured to storm 
up the other side of the slope towards Gravelotte. The Prussian 
battalions, reduced by heavy losses, were overcome in the ravine, 
and there was great danger lest the Oerman line of battle, 
at this place, should be broken through. The artillery, how- 
ever, firing over the heads of the infantry, from the heights 
of Gravelotte, had already severely shaken the French columns 
as they came Jdown, and the obstinacy of the infantry in the 
valley brought them to a staiid, and then caused them to yield. 

Nevertheless the situatiop was very serious, and the arrival 
of the Pomeranians was impatiently looked for. The French attack 
might be renewed at any moment, and the troops were fatigued 
by the long struggle. 

The King himself with his suite, had repaired to the critical 
point, and remained at Gravelotte exposed to the shell fircj whilst 
General von Moltke rode to meet the II. Corps. 

At last the first columns appeared with General v. Fransecky 
at their head; General von Moltke drew his sword and led the 
troops himself to the critical spot. 

In spite of the long march of 6 miles*) which they had ac- 
complished, the Pomeranians engaged with the greatest energy. 

The French were thrown back from one position to another, 
the wood and the villages were taken from them with the bayonet, 
the heights of Rozerieulles were occupied and, the battle was 
decided upon this wing also. 

The I. Army Corps , which occupied, a position upon . the 
right bank of the Moselle, to the east of Metz had also a share in 
this great battle. Zychlinisky's Brigade with a battery and a squadron 
was moved forward along the right bank in the direction of f^aua:. 
The battery came into position upon the noi*them edge of the height 
lying opposite to Vaux, and fired upon the enemy's artillery at 
Sey, under Mont St, Qucntin. The infantry were shelled from 

*) 23 Englisch miles. 


this fort and obliged to take up a covered positioo. This diversion 
of the Brigade made it impossible for the enemy to make any 
attempts to break through with single divisions towards the 
south; he was, on the contrary^ obliged to retain I'eserves at 
Plappeville, which he would otherwise have employed in the first 
line, for fear of an attack being made in his rear. 

The battle was over, and darkness setting in put an end to 
the pursuit. 

Thus the chief nucleus of the . French active forces was cut 

off from all its communications, and constrained to retreat upon the 

fortress ; it was brought uito a situation from which there was but 
one escape^ — capitulation. 

The eight German Army Corps which fought at Gravelotte, 
still amounted altogether to about 230,000 men, after the losses 
they had suatained from the 6th to the 18th of August. Reckoning 
the loss of the French ' in the battles of Goureelles and VionvlUe, 
at 20,000 men, the French Army at Gravelotte was 180,000 
strong. The loss of the Germans in killed and wounded exceeded 
20,000 men. The French loss is not known, but it appears to 
have been smaller. As at Goureelles and Vionville, the French 
had fought with the advantage in positions and with a superior 
infantry rifle, but had retired when these positions were stormed 
by the Germans coming up in the open. It was at this moment 
that they sustained the greatest loss , but it did not last long as 
the darkness prevented a lengthened pursuit. At the capitulation 
of Metz the strength of the French Army, including the sick 
and wounded, whose numbers must have increased considerably 
between the 18th of August and the 28th of October, was still 
stated at 173,000 men, in which the garrison of Metz is, doubtless, 
reckoned. Very few prisoners were made, no colours or eagles 
fell into the hands of the victors, for the fortress was too near 
at hand as a city of refuge for the defeated Army. 

The resistance made by the French Army had been most 
desperate, as soon as they perceived that not only their honour 
was concerned but the only road of escape was endangered. An 
appreciation of the situation had electi*ified even the individual 


soldiers and bearing in mind their high M^arlike renown, the Army 
had accomplished the utmost in courage and tenacity. 

Bat the German wan*ior also knew what was at stake; he 
knew it sooner and better than the French. Seldom in the events 
of war are the end and means so clearly manifest as in this 
battle, and seldom is the logic of the Army Direction so evident 
and intelligible to each of tlte combatants as was the case 
in the surrounding of Metz. 

The. pr^ze of this victory had the prodigious result, that the 
principal Army of the enemy could be invested in the strongest 
fortress in the land, under such circumstances, that the powerful 
means of resistance of the enclosed enemy, were not only unable 
to render mutual suppoH but, on the contrary, mutually paralysed 
each other. In this respect the investment of Metz, which com- 
menced immediately after the battle of Gravelotte, is a remark- 
able and interesting event. 

The fortress is so strong in itself, that with a garrison of 
20,000 men and well provisioned, it might have been able to 
offer an incalculably long resistance. Bazaine's Army was still 
sufficiently large and fit for battle, to render important service in 
the open field. As soon, however, as this army was enclosed in 
a narrow space, with small d^bouch^s, and its destiny insolubly 
bound up with that of the fortress, its excessive numbers were an 
injury to the fortress, and the fortress itself was unable to employ 
tliem. On the one hand, the great mass of men and horses 
consumed <all the provisions and necessaries of life in a much 
shorter time than the defence required, and on the other hand, 
the army was unable to develope quickly enough to make a 
successful attempt to break through. Thus the size of the army 
diminished the power of resistance of the fortress, and* the fortress, 
from its excellent situation in the centre of hills crowned with 
forts, hindered the development of the strength of the army. 
The strength of both when united must come to ruin. 

Before the beginning of the battle, the Saxon Army Corps 
had, already, received oi*dei*s to intercept the communications 
between Metz and Thionville, this instruction was repeated in the 
evening, v/liilst attention was drawn to the importance of the point 


of Woippy. On the evening of the 18th, the Saxon Cavalry 
succeeded in tearing up the railroad between the two fortresses. 
In the following days the investment of Metz was completely 
effected, and in the closest manner. The German Army encamped 
round the outer-foiiB in a large circle, and carefully entrenched 
itself at all points where an attack from the enemy might be 
expected, or an attempt made to break through. 


Sixth The Capitulation of Sedan. 

After the battle of Gravelottd, the capture of Metz was not 
tlie only aim of importance, bnt the pLan of operations against 
Paris had also to be pursued. 

For the latter object, three Corps were separated from what 
had hitheiiio been the first and second Armies, the Garde Corps, 
the IV. and the XII. Corps, and together with the 5th and 6th 
Cavalry Divisions were formed into a fourth Army, and placed 
under the command of the Crown Prince of Saxony. This army 
was to operate in combination with the third Army, whilst the 
remauiing eight Army Corps, reinforced by Rummer's Reserve 
Division, with the 1st and 3rd Cavalry Divisions, and the 3rd 
Reserve Cavalry Brigade,, remained behind as the investing Army 
of Metz, under the chief command of Prince Frederick Charles. 

During the battles near Metz, tlie Army of the Crown Prince 
of Prussia, which by this time, had been joined by the VI. Army 
Corps (General von Tfimpling), had covered the operations of the 
first and second Armies, against any possible disturbance on the 
part of Marshal Mac Msihon's Army, and after the battle of 
Gravelotte had commenced its march upon Paris, in which it would 
be opposed in all probability, by Mac Mahon. 

On the 17th of August, the Crown Prince's head-quarters 
were removed from Luneville to Nancy, the advanced guard, 
Prince Albert of Prussia's Cavalry Division, had passed the Meuse 
on the 16th, the infantry of the V. and XI. Army Corps had 


moved forward towards this river on the 17th, and on the 19th 
and 20th the wliole of the third Army had eroBsed, after having 
first rested on the day of the battle of Gravelotte. The march 
was continued on Bar-le-Duc. 

On the 20th, the Crown Prince left Nancy for the chief head- 
quarters, for a conference with the King, his father; on the 21st 
he removed his head-quarters to Vaucouleurs. 

An Army having been collected at Chd.lons, under Mac Mahon, 
this place became the next object of operations, and the fortress of 
Toulj upon the direct line to ii, was a considerable obstacle. Toul 
had refused a summons to surrender, and defeated an attack by 
a detachment of the IV. Army Corps on the 16th of August, after 
which it was watched by a brigade of the II. Bavarian Corps. 

From Vaueouleurs, the head-quarters of the third Army were 
moved, on the 23rd, to Ligny. 

The Army of the Crown Prince of Saxony, likewise, began 
the advance against Obd^lons, and left the neighbourhood of Metz 
on the 22nd of August. Like the third Army, its charge was to 
seek out Mac Mahon, and it marched by the very roads to Verdtm 
which Baeaiue had in vain endeavoured to make use of. Against 
this fortress, an attach by surprise Was attempted on the 23rd, 
which, however, was unsuccessful. The Saxon Army Corps advanced 
towards Verdun, the 23rd Infantry Division taking the road by 
Etain, the 24th Infantry Division and the Artillery Corps taking 
tliat by Fresnes. The advanced guard of the 23rd Division, the 
Schfltzen Regiment No. 108, gained possession of the Faubourg- 
le-Pan^ with great bravery, and kept possession of it in spite of 
the fire ft'om the works, whilst the artillei*y vigorously bombarded 
the fortifications and the town itself. 

Verdun was, however, prepared for defence, sufficiently gar- 
risoned, ^nd showed guns of heavy calibre. Tlie summons was 
most decidedly refused, and tlie XII. Corps gave up the attack, 
which could only have been suceesssfnl tlirough a surprise, and 
crossed the Meuse i^ve and beloM^ Verdun, leaving the 47th 
In^ntry Brigade to watch tlie forti'ess. 

Oil the 25th of August the fourth Army had advanced as far 
as Clennont-en-Argoune, and the head-quarters of the third Army 


had already been established at Bar-le-Duc on the 24th. Had the 
French Army been atiU in the camp of Ghalons, it would have 
been attacked on two sides by these two Armies^ the chief command 
being held by the Kmg himself. Bnt on the 23ih1 of August, the 
snrpristog announcement that Mac Hahon had evacuated Cli&lons, 
reached the head^qoarters of the third Army in Ligny. The King 
had arrived this day in Ligny, and in the evening his head-quarters 
were removed to Bar-le-Duc The German Army Direction was in 
complete ignorance of the line taken by the French Army, and 
various possibilities were discussed between von Moltke and von 
Biumentlial, the two Chiefs of the Staff. It was thought most 
probable, that Mac. Mahon considered his army incapable of 
defending the position of Clarions and liad retired towards Paris, in 
order to gain an advantageous position or in other respects more 
favourable conditions and prospects for a great battle. 

Both armies were, therefore, provisionally to continue the 
advance on their previous lines of march. 

As it turned out the French Army was destined for an 
opemtion, which the German Army Direction could not foresee. 

Although it must always remain a matter of astonishment, 
that the feeling between the German armies and Mac Mahon's army 
was so completely lost, it must on the other hand, be acknow- 
ledged as an admirable performance in Fr^ncli railway manage- 
ment, that this large army could be united in ChMons and convey- 
ed from there with such rapidity. 

Whilst the battles were taking place before Metz Marshal 
Mac Mahon had united in the camp of Chdions, the remains of 
his army beaten at Woerth, with the 5th Corps which had retired 
from Bitsch, and the 7th Corps which was stationed at Belfort at 
the beginning of the war, and there also the 12th Corps had been 
newly formed. 

The 1st, 5th and 7th Corps had again nearly attained the 
strength which they had at the beginning of the war ; the regiments 
had been made up to their complements by numerous drafts of 
young soldiers of the reserve, and of the second category of the 
contingeiri; as well as by the recruits of 1869. 



The 7th Corps had, it is true, only one brigade of cavalry, 
the other having remained in Lyons, as prevlonsly mentioned. 

The 12tk Corps was composed of 1 Division of Infantry of 
the Line (the lour Line Regiments which had been on the Spanish 
frontier); 1 Division, consisting of 3 Line Regiments and 4 Regi- 
ments de marche, and 1 Division of Marine Infantry, 12,000 men 
in strength. F^n^lon's Cavalry Division and 15 Batteries of 
Artillery were allotted to the Corps in addition. 

The Corps was consequently, entirely composed of regular 
troops; the Garde Mobile Division, which was also in the camp 
of Chalons at the commencement of the war, had been sent to 
Paris under the command of General Trochu^ 


Commander in Chief: General of Division Lebrun. Chief of the Staff: 

Brigade General Grelej. 




1st Inf. Div. 

tst Brig. Gen. Cambriels. 

Jager Marche Battalion. — 
22nd and 34th R.of the Line. 


2nd Inf. Div. 
. General 

3rd (Marine) Inf. Div. 

de Wassoigne. 

Cav. Div. 
General F^nelon. 

2nd Brig. Gen. de ViUeneuve. 58th and 79th R.of the Line. 

1st Brig. Gen. Bernier. 

14th, 20th and 30th R. of 
the Line. 

2nd Brig. Gen. Marquisan. 

2nd and 4th B. de Marche. 

1st Brig. Gen. Reboul. 

1st and 2nd R. of Marine 

2nd Brig. Gen. Martin des 

3rd and 4th R. of Marine 

1st Brig. Gen. Savaresse. 

1st and 7th R. of Lancers. 

2nd Brig. Gen. de B^ville. 5th and 6th R.of Cuirassiers. 

In addition to this a new Reserve Cavalry Division was 
formed and allotted to Marshal Mac Mahon's army^ which was 
composed as follows: 



lat Reserve Cav. Div. 

Brigade General 



1st Brig. Gen. Tilliard. 

1st R. of Hussars and 6th 
R. of Chasseurs. 

2nd Brig. Gen. Margueritte. 

1st, 3rd and 4th R. of 
Chasseurs d'Afrique. 


In these distributionB it is to be remarked, 

iBt) tliat Bemier's Brigade of the 2Dd Infantry Division 
originally belonged to the 6th Corps, and was cut off from it at 
Frouard by the surrounding of the second German Army. It had 
gone to Chalons. 

2ndly) that the Regiments of F^n^lon'^ Cavalry Division and 
of Tilliai*d's Brigade of -Margueritte's Resei*ve Cavalry Division, 
likewise belonged to the 6th Corps, but had remained behind on 
the departm*e of this corps to Metz, and at a later period they 
were not able to reach it. 

. 3rdly) that the 1st and 3rd Regiments of Chasseurs d'Afrique 
had belonged to the Emperor's escort on the 16tli of August, and 
had not been sent back to Metz. 

The Marshal's Army thus consisted of 4 Corps and 2 Reserve 
Cavalry Divisions (Margueritte's newly formed Division, and Bonne- 
main's Division which had been placed under the Marshal sinc^ 

The 1st Corps, Dncrot, numbered 40,000 men, 
„ 5th „ de Pailly, „ 25,000 „ 

„ 7th „ Douay, „ 30,000 „ 

^ 12th ^ Lebrun, ^ 45,000 ^ 

Total: 140,000 men. 
This Army had over 400 guns. 

The employment of this active force formed, however, a 
point of dispute between the political parties, and public opinion 
was more considered than the rules of strategy. 

Although the Emperor Napoleon had been with this army 
since the 18th of August, and was still the Head of the State, 
yet the war minister in Pai*is, Cousin Montauban, Count Palikao, 
gave the final word, and it waa decided, after much wavering, that 
the Mai*shal should turn northwards, in order to reach Metz by a 
wide circuit, supported by tlie fortresses lying on the Belgian 
frontier, and relieve Bazaine. 

Success alone could rescue this plan from the reproach of 

This army was at the same time, the only one which Fi*ance 

10 « 


could for the mom^iit place in the field^ and half its importance 
lay in being the main support of the fortresB of Paris in offering 
a long resistance 7 but then the connection of the army with 
Paris was given up, and still the aimy in itself was quite 
incapable of caiTying out such a plan. For this, thoroughly 
disciplined and hardened troops would be necessary, who were 
very mobile and capable of marching, and the army was deficient 
in all these qualifications. Added to wfaieli the attempt was to be 
made in the face of an enemy who was superior in every respect. 
Never, perhaps, has a plan of operations been undertaken with 
less prospect of sucoess. 

The Gardes Mobiles, who had shewn themselves very mutinous 
and unmanageable, had, as mentioned above, been sent back from 
Chalons to the camps of St. Maur and Vincennes ; the army which 
was aet ip motion from Chalons, on the 21st of August, towards 
Rheims is described in a French pftblication*), in the following 

"The 1st Corp^ formed for the chief part from the African 
Regiments, h£j.d given proof of heroic valour at Froscbweiler, which 
could only be overoome by the overwhelming numerical superiority 
of the enemy. These troops, greatly affeeted by the defeat, and 
by the crushing effects of the Prussian Artillery, carried away 
from the battle field bad tendencies^ which were still more aggravated 
by the long, incessant marches, and matenal privations on tlie 
retreat to Chltlons. Marshal Mac Mahon did not deceive himself 
on this point and was aware that before bringing them again 
under fire, it would have been wise to have giv6n them time for 
repose, and to restore steadiness. ' They were our oldest troops, 
BuiTOunded with the renown which rightly belongs to our African 
soldiers, and they had amply justified it. The spectacle of their 
discouragement before the rest of the army, was therefore doubly 
to be feared. 

"The 5th Corps, particularly, had already auffered from the 
effects. Exhausted, also, by the precipitate marches which it had 
made from Bitsch across the Vosges, by Neuf-Ch^teau and la 

*) **De8 causes qui ont amen^ la capitulation de Sedan," ascribed to 
Napoleon III. 


Haute^Marne to the oamp of OfaalooBy having lost without fighting, 
a portion of its ms^rial and nearly all its baggage^ the 5th Corps 
presented an aspect of lassitude and disoi^anisation sufficient to 
oause graye uneasiness. 

^^The 7th Corps, whose late organization was scarcely yet 
completed, had it is true, not passed through the 9ame trials as 
the two pi*ecediug Corps; but owing to the long retreating march 
which it had made from Belfort, through Paris, to the camp of 
Chalons, it did not present that solidity which eould have been 

""As to the 12th Corps which had been quite recently created, 
it contained elements of valour in great variety. The 1st Division 
was composed of new regiments upon which one had raison to 
depend; the 2Bd was composed of four regiments de marche, 
formed from fourth battalions with incomplete cadres, and of soldiers 
who had never fired a shot. 

^Laatly^ the 3rd Division was composed of four i*egimonts of 
marine infantry, who behaved bravely at Sedan, but who being 
little accustomed to long marches, cov^:^d the road with stragglers. 
— Such were the troops on whom was imposed the execution of 
the boldest and most difficult plan of the campaign.^' 

The observations on the German side in the further course 
of the war have confirmed the above mtidsm, with the exceptions 
of the eajoleries with which it is gamislmd. 

When first it Was ordered from Paris that Marshal Mac Mahon 
should attempt to reach Mets^ he deol«red that he could not 
expose his troops to this danger, representing the imprudence 
of such a hopeless endeavour, and, as he considered the position 
at Chalons untenable, he led his Army to Rheims on the 
21st. From here he could fepulse toy enemy advancing towards 
Paris, both on the side of Paris and also on that of Soissons, by 
a flank position. 

The Emperor accompanied the Army to Rheims. 

The command for the relief of Metz was, however, repeated 
from Paris , and the • Marshal forfeited his renown as an able 
Commander, by obeying this order. 

Consequently^ on the 2^rd the Army ayam moved off 


from Rheims^ and proceeded in a north -easterly direction. 
The march should have heen carried out with great rapidity, for 
speed was the first condition of success, but hardly had a day's 
march been accomplished and the army formed up on the Saippe, 
in Bethniville, when the difficulty of provisioning forced the 
Marshal to approach the line of railway. He made his left wing 
carry out a movement, and on the 24:th arrived in Rethel in 
order to provide his troops with the means of subsistance for 
several days. The distribution of these occupied the whole kA the 
25th of August. 

From Rethely the head-quarters were removed to Tour- 

Here the Prince Imperial was sent away from the head- 
qnartera, on account of the great dangers of the expedition, and 
was conducted to M^zi^res, whilst the Emperor perseveringly 
followed the army. 

On the 27th the Army arrived at Ch^e-populeux\ On 
this day the advanced troops of de Failly's and Douay^s Corps 
encountered the advanced troops of the Crown Prince of Saxony; 
a cavaby fight at Busancy ensued. 

By this time it must have been clear to the Marshal that 
his undertaking would fail, and that he must give up his base 
of operations, for to make a flank march in the face of the numeri- 
cally stronger Germans would, naturally, be tempting the enemy 
to attack him upon his right flank, without his having a prospect 
of reaching Metz. There was absolutely no chance of being able 
to appear unexpectedly at Metz, for he had already met with 
resistance from that ai*my which he ought to have got round 

The Army of the Crown Prince of Saxony had still 
continued its march against Chdlons on the 25^A, although the 
cavalry Divisions, moving in front, had brought the information 
that Chlllons was found to be unoccupied. Taking into consider- 
ation the possibility of Mac Mahon's reaching Metz along the 
Belgian frontier, although it was not thought probable, the 
destruction of the railway between M^zi^res and Tihonville, by a 
party sent out to the side for that purpose, was not neglected. 


On this day the Army of the Crown Prince of PruBsia took 
the little fortress of Fitry le FranpatSy without resistance from 
the garrison, an important point for the connection between Nancy 
and Paris^ as the fortress barred the passage across the Marne 
and the railroad. The King's head-quarters were established in 

Perhaps, as it is maintained through the indiscretion of a 
French newspaper, or more probably earlier still by means of 
reconnaissances, the new, unexpected direction in which the French 
army had marched was now learnt, and the order was issued 
to both armies, during the night of the 26 th^ that each n>as 
to wheel at once, independently y to the rights to advance m 
a northerly direction y and intercept the enemy on his way 
to Met». 

The third Army commenced this movement from Vitry^ 
by St. Mhiehould and Suippes, on the 26/A, the Mouse Army 
(fourth Am^j Crown Prince of Saxony) wheeled at Clermont^ 
the Krng^s head-quarters on this day, and in the evening 
reached Varennes with the left wing (the XII. Army Corps), and 
with the right wing (the IT. Army Corps), Fleury, upon the right 
banls: of the Mouse, whilst the Garde Corps moved up in rear of 
the centre as far as Dombasle, on the road between Verdun and 
Clermont The cavalry was pushed forward a long distance 
towards the north and discovered the enemy's encampment at 

On the 27th, the XU. Army Corps was also moved across 
the Mouse, in order that this important line might be most 
resolutely held, against any attack by the French from the west, 
especially at the points Dun and Stenay. The III. and IX. Corps 
of the army investing Metz, were also foimed up with their front 
towards Etain, in a north-westerly direction, in order to resist any 
possible attempt by the French Army to break through between 
the Mouse Army and the Belgian frontier. The XII. Army Corps 
reached Dun on this day, and bivouacked ne the parositions which 
had been selected for defence. 

The 2nd Cavalry Brigade only, whilst reconnoitring Busancy, 
came upon six squadrons of the 12th Chasseurs. An attack was 


here made by the first and half of the fiflKh squadrons of the 3rd 
Horse Regiment, whilst the fire of Zenker's Horse Battery obliged 
the enemy to give way. The Commander of the Ohassenr Eegimeirt 
was taken prisoner. This fight confirmed the supposition that the 
enemy was at Vouziers and to the noiih of it, and the IV. Corps 
and Garde Corps therefore continued their march upon Bwancy 
and Vouziers on the 28th, whilst the XU. Army Corps remained 
in position at Dun. ' 

The royal head-quarters were still in Clermont. 

The third Army had continued on the march towards the 
north, on the 26th, so that it must come upon the right flank 
of the enemy, whilst the Mouse Army moved against Mm in 
the front. 

The Crown Prmce's head-quai*ters were at St. M^nehouM on 
the 28th. This array having had a longer distance to march 
was still behind in eomparisDn with the Mouse army, and in order 
to bring about a general engagement, the lattei* was obliged to 
make a slew advance. 

On the 2dth the Frrach advanced troops were driven back 
by the 4th Cavalry Division, Marshal Mac Mahon's head-quai^ters 
were removed the same day, to Stonne.- The Marshal made this 
movement against his will. The encounter with the Saxons at 
Busancy on the previous day, had taught him the frnitlesaness of 
hia midertaking, and he wished to return. The dispositions for 
the march to the west had already been made, but in the night 
of the 27th the most decide oi*der Arrived from Paris to oontinue 
the march to Metz. 

The delays arising from these alterations, made it impossible 
to concentrate the army at Stonne on the 28th. 

The Marshal determined to reach Stenay and frmn thence 
to get on to Monimedy^ but the enemy already occupied the 
first of these towns. The German armies moved quickly, whilst 
the French army had only accomplished 25 leagues *) in six days. 
On the 20th the head-quarters were removed to Raucourt, and the 
army commenced the passage across the Meuse at Mouzon. 

*) About 67 English miles. 


Lebrun's G<Mrps passed the rtirer ob the eveniag of the 29thy aad 
the other corps were to cross in the early morning of the 30th, 
Generals, de Failly and Doaay were to remain with their troops 
apon the left bank until the last, in order to cover the passage 
against the approaching Germans, and then to go over themselves. 

On the Gei-man side, the possibility of the French left wing 
extending its line of retreat towards the Belgian frontier, and 
perhaps even attempting to cross it, for the sake of safety upon 
Belgian territory, had to be kept in view; it was therefore 
determined to compel the enemy to give battle upoti the ground 
between the Ardennes and the Mouse. 

The Armies of the Crown Princes of Prussia and Saxony, 
now united into one Army under command of the King, were 
advancing, on the 29th, in the following order of march: 

Of the third Army, the 1st Bavarian Corps, had, on the 27th, 
pushed forwai'd by VouAiers upon the road to Stenay, as far as 
Bar and Busaney ; it was now marching upon Sommauthe in front 
q( the enemy at Beaumont, and had established the connection 
with the IV. Army Corps upon the left flank of the fourth Army« 
The II. Bavarian Corps followed the first. The V. Army Corps 
was marching from Brigenay and Authe upon Pien*emont and 
Oehes and thus formed part of the left wing. The Wurtembei'gers 
had taken the direction by Ghatillon to Chene-populeux. The XI. 
Army Corps was also marching towards this point, but had taken 
the route by Vouziers and Quatrechamps, and, on the left of the 
Wurtembergers, a flank column of the XI. Corps was to occupy 
Voncq on the Aisne. The VI. Army Corps was to march behind 
them towards Vouziers. The dth Cavalry Division was to place 
itself in front of Chene-populeux, to the west of the place whilst 
directing its march upon Tourteron, the 4th Cavahry Division was 
to follow the XI. Corps to Qnati'echamps and then wheel up 
upon Chatillon, the 6th Cavalry Division was to advance upon 
Seinuy, and push forward its out-posts as far as Boavellemont, 
whilst it took the direction of M^zi^res. The 2nd Cavalry Division 
was to halt near Busaney. 

The Cavalry received orders to retain feeling with the 


enemy, but not to engage in a serions fight as the infantry were 
Btill too far behind. 

On the morning of the 29th, direetions were given to the 
Crown Prince of Saxony, to take np a defensive position with his 
army, between Aincreviile and Landres, on the left bank of the 
Meuse, and to watch the Meuse from Dun to Stenay. In con- 
sequence of this, the XII. Army Corps returned from the right to 
the left bank, the Garde Corps took up a position on its left, 
and the IV. Army Corps formed the left wing; the Garde Cavalry 
and the Saxon Cavalry Division reconnoitred towards Oches and 


When the XII. Army Corps was moving towards Nonart, the 
advanced guard, the 46th Infantry Brigade, discovered at midday, 
that the heights in rear of this place were occupied by the 5th 
French Corps. The Saxons immediately attacked them, and to- 
wards evening, after a long resistance, took the heights from the 
French. At the same time the cavalry brought infoimation l^at 
another mass of the enemy's troops was formed np at Foss^, to 
the north-east of Nouart. The Crown Prince made his troops 
move into bivouac, and established his head-quarters at Bariconrt. 
The village of Voncq upon the left wing, occupied by infantry, 
had been taken by storm the same evening, by two dismounted 
squadrons of Hussars. 

Every preparation was made to destroy Mac Mahon's isolated 

The difficult problem of a change of front, and the disposition 
of both armies to the right flank, was completely solved and 
carried out with surprising rapidity and certainty, in spite of the 
long distances and the communications being in parts very imperfect. 



The strategical dispogition of the third and fourth ArmieB in 
one line of about 4 miles*) in extent^ was so far completed on 
the morning of the 30th of August, that both armies, the fourth 
upon the right flank and the third upon the left, could advance 
to the attack in a north-easterly direction, fairly iB the same line. 

Mac Mahon had given oi'ders that the 3rd Corps, which was 
still upon the left bank of the Mouse, was to cross the river this 
day at any price. The 5th Corps was to march upon Mouzon, 
the 7th upon ¥11104*8, the Ist upon Remilly. 

General Margueritte was to cover the advance towards 
Mouzon and Carignan, and General Bonnemain to follow the 
1st Corps. 

The French Army was, however, inteiTupted in its passage 
across the Meuse, although it was only de Failly's Corps which 
was principally engaged upon the left bank. 

The King^s head-quarters were in Grandpr^ on the night 
of the 29th, and the head-quarters of the Crown Prince of Prussia 
were in Cenuc. 

At 10 o'clock, on the morning of the 30th, the Crown Prince 
of Saxony commenced the advance against Beaumont The IV. 
Army Corps formed the left wing, the XII. Army Corps the right 
wing, the Garde Corps remained in a reserve position at Nouart. 
The two Corps of the first line moved forward in four columns, 
each consisting of one Division, with cavalry for investigating the 
ground in front and upon the flanks. 

General de Failly's troops were encamped opposite to them 
in a position that could be easily defended, namely upon the 
wooded heights in front of Beaumont, commanding the valley of 
the Meuse. One Division was laying to the north and the other 
to the south of the town; although the Corps had been engaged 
the previous day at Nouart, and could not well ignore the vicinity 
of the enemy, yet it had marvellously, neglected to take the 
slightest precautions for security. The French troops bivouacked 

*) About 18^5 English miles. 


entirely without out-posts in spite of the danger to which they 
were exposed. 

The reconnaissances made by the fourth Army had brought 
information to the Crown Prince of Saxony, that the nearest 
stationary Division of de Failly's Corps was in the act of cooking 
with the greatest negligence. The columns were therefore concealed 
as much as possible, and approached the French camp without 
being seen, a battery moved up quickly to within range and suc- 
ceeded in opening an unexpected fire of shells upon the encamp- 
ment, which was immediately followed by the attack of the two 
Infantry Divisions of the IV. Army Corps. The French fled in^ 
the greatest confusion, leaving behind them tents and other camp 
equipage, their cooking kettles and every thing that could hinder 
a rapid flight. 

It is true that their leadei*s succeeded in bringing them to a 
halt after having gone some distance, but they were only capable 
of a short resistance, and quickly retired to Beaumont where they 
were collected and supported by the remaining parts of dc Failly's 
and Douay's Corps, so that a vigorous fight was now developed, 
in consequence of which a brigade of Lebrun's Corps was brought 
back from the right bank of the Meuse. 

Nevertheless the 7th t^russian Division, under the command 
of Lieutenant General von Schwarzhoff, supported by the 8th 
Division under Lieutenant General von Schdler, took the town 
and forced the enemy to retreat towards Mouzon. 

The small wood of Givodeau to the north of Beaumont was 
still defended with great obstinacy by the rear guard of the 
French, and thus relieved the retreat upon the Meuse, yet this 
wood also was ultimately taken. 

The French then once again offered resistance upon the 
heights of the right bank, in front of Mouzon. They brought a 
numerous artillery into position, and for a time opened a very 
hot fire. At this place, only the right wing of the Meuse Army, 
the Saxon Corps, took part in the fight. 

Whilst the IV. Army Corps, upon the left wing, supported 
by a Bavarian Brigade of von dei' Tann*s Corps, attacked in front, 
the Saxons advanced upon Beaumont from Nouart, naixdiing by 


LanenviUe through the For^ de Dtenlet. At the moment of the 
attack being made against Houzon, the 45th Infantry Brigade 
(Leib and 2nd Grenadier Regiments) with the Schtltzen Regiment 
reaehed the action, and by vigorously pressing on with their lead- 
ing troops, got as far as Villemontry. 

Niglit coming on put an end to the fight, which had delivered 
much booty iiito the liands of the Germans. 

Above 9000 prisoners, 19 guns, and 8 mitrailleuses were count- 
ed, with considerable war material, including several waggons. The 
loss of the Germans amounted to .3000 men in killed and wound- 
ed in the IV. Army Corps, and between 400 and 500 men in 
the Saxon Corps. The loss of the Bavarians was small. 

The Army of the Crown Prince of Pi'ussia moved on this 
day, from the south towards Oches, the Bavarians on the right 
wing, the V. Corps in the centre and the Wuiiiembergers with the 
XI. Corps on the left wing, and the VI. Corps forming the reserve 
of the left wing. This army came upon the French 7th Corps. 

The first shots fell precisely at midday. They c<ame from 
tlie hills in ft'ont upon the further side of the village of Oches, 
where the French artillery had taken up a position and opened 
fire upon some guns of the thii-d Anny, formed up on the heights 
behind Busancy. The distance being nearly 5000 paces, the fire 
of the French was inefficacious. It was also evident that the 
French had no intention of offering a serious resistance here, as 
they immediately gave up their position when the German Cavalry 
advanced from the left flank towards Oches, and retired upon 
Stonne, following the chain of the heights which rises behind 

The Crown Prince had gone forward through Busancy with 
his Staff and suite, and taken up his point of observation on the 
same spot upon which the enemy had directed his cannonade 
shortly before. At first it was thought that the French would 
try to make a stand at Stonne. However, in this retreat General 
Douay stricitly followed the orders of the Marshal, who had laid 
down tlie passage of the Meuse as the object of first importance. 

Dispositions were immediately made to suiTound the enemy 
on the south, south-west and south-east, by a semicircular 


formation, the terminating points of which should oontiQually 
encroach towards the north, like a pair of pincers, and surround 
the enemy. 

The numerical superiority of the Germans )yas well calculated 
for this plan, the aim of which was to destroy or take prisoner 
the whole of the French Army, in case it did not hasten to cross 
over at once, into Belgian territory towards the north. 

The German Armies numbered in all 250,000 men with 
800 guns. Provided with a very numerous Cavalry (four in- 
dependent Cavalry Divisions had been allotted to the third Army) 
they followed close upon the heels of the French Army, and 
kept them in constant danger of having to make front to the rear 
against a surprise. 


After the victorious combat at Beaumont, the German Armies 
bivouacked in a line, the approximate direction of which was from 
Raucourt to Villemontry. The Kmy's head-quarters were at 
Busancy, the Crovm Prince of Prussia's at Rourmont, and the 
Crovm Prince of Saxony's at Beaumont. 

The King caused the following dispositions to given out for 
the 31st of August. 

The Mouse Army will prevent the enemy^s left wing 
escaping in an easterly direction between the Belgian frontier 
and the Mouse. 

The third Army will continue the advance, attack the 

enemy if he takes up a position on this side of the Mouse, 

and operate simultaneously against the front and right flank, 

in order to press the wliole French Army into the naiTow 

space between the Mouse and the Belgian frontier. 

In accordance with these arrangements the Crown Prince of 

Saxony ordered the Garde Corps to cross the Meuse at Pouilly, 

and the XII. Army Corps at Letanne with directions to advance 

towards the line between Mouzon and Carignan.^ The IV. Army 


Corps was to move forward upon the left bank of the Menae to 
Mouzon, and keep up the connection with the third Army. 

The Crown Prince of Pmaaia caused the I. Bavarian Corps 
to march by Baucourt upon Bemilly, the XI, Army Corps from 
the previous day's positions at Stonne, upon Ch^mery and Oheveuge ; 
the latter Corps was ordered to halt upon the left bank of the 
Meuscy and encamp in front of Donch^ry. The IL Bavarian 
Corps was to follow the first, the V. Army Corps tlie eleventh. 
The Wurtembergers were to advance by Yendresse and Boutan- 
court to the Mense. By this means the lines of march of the 
third Army converged towards the fortress of Sedan, within whose 
walls and environs, according to the news brought, the French 
Army was concentrated. The task was to enclose the enemy 
in these positions and to force him either to sun*ender his 
army, or to take flight over the Belgian frontier. As the latter 
eventuality was not considered impossible, it was expressly stated 
in the order of the day for the 30th that the German Corps 
would have to follow the French without delay, in case they 
were not immediately disarmed upon Belgian territoiy. 

The Blst of August passed without serious fighting. 

Of the Mouse Army, only the Saxon Cavalry Brigade had 
been engaged. It was ordered to cross the Mease at Pouilly, on 
the morning of the 31st, and to go forward down the valley of 
the Mouse in connection with the Garde Cavalry Division directed 
to march by Sailly and Carignan, for the purpose of intercepting 
thfe departure of the Train belonging to the French ai'my. The 
DivisioA upon the heights to the noi*th-west of the Bois-de-Vaux 
discovered some railway trains standing ready in Carignan and 
columns of the French 12th Corps movin^>' off, kgainst which the 
horse battery immediately opened fire with success. In the fUrther 
advance upon Douzy, which was strongly occupied by the enemy's 
infantry, and therefore could only be fired upon by the horse 
battery, an opportunity occurred of attacking a large train of 
provisions and ambulance waggons, partly horsed and partly un- 
horsed. For th.s object the Garde Horse Regiment had gone for- 
ward at Brevilly across the Chiers in order to attack the columns 
retreating upon the road; it could not however, press forward 


beyond Pouru-Bt.-Remy , from whif^h plaoe it was fired upon by 
strong detaehmentg of the enemy's infantry and espeeiaUy by tkie 
inhabitants, and no infantry was at hand. 

An attempt made by the 1st Uhlans No. 17 to press into 
DotKsy, failed at the commencement on account of a vigorous 
infantry fire; the regiment however succeeded, after further pre- 
paration by the horse battery, in forcing Douey, and in capturing 
the departing train, consisting of about 40 waggons, escorted by 
two companies of tlie 24th Infantry Regiment, and thus made 
several prisoners besides getting possession of the train standing 
at the station. 

Of the third Army, only the I. Bavarian Corps had an 
encounter with the enemy. In advancing beyond Remilly a few 
companies of Jagers belonging to the I. Bavarian Division came 
upon the 12th French Corps which had moved from Mouzon by 
Douzy towards Sedan, and occupied Bazeilles. A violent fight 
ensued upon the right bank of the Mouse, in which the Bavarians 
were repulsed. 

In the meanwhile the main body of the corps approached 
the river and two pontoon hridges were laid at Remilly. The 
Crown Prince himself was present at this fight. He Iiad taken 
up a point of observation on an eminence, just behind the church 
in the village of Stonne, from whence a wide survey of the 
country could be taken. After the fight was over at about 
6 o'clock in the evening, the Cx'own Prince went to Chemery, 
where his head-quarters had been established. 

The other corps hajd been able to accomplish the marches 
prescribed for them, during the day, without difficulty; the 
French Army had retired to Sedan without any further attempt 
at resistance. 

On the evening of the 31st of August, the German Armies 
occupied the following positions (v. map I.): 

The Mouse Army formed the right wing and stood thus: 
The Garde Corps at Carigna^ upon the right bank of 
the Chiers. 

The XII. Army Corps at Mairy. 


The advanced guards of both Corps fronted towards the 
west and north. They extended from Pouru-aux-Bois* to Pouru- 
St.-Remy and Douzy; patrols had feeling with the enemy and 
scoured the country as far as Francheval. 

The IV. Army Corps was on the left bank of the Mouse at 

Of the Third Army, on the evening of the 31st: 
The I. Bavarian Corps was at Remilly, the II. Bavarian 
Corps at Raucoui*t, the V. Army Corps at Ch^hery, the XL Army 
Corps at Donch^ry, the Wnrtemberg Division, at first, at Boutan- 
court; it afterwards advanced to Dom-le-Mesnil. The VI. Army 
Corps was only able to reach Attigny and Semuy this evening. 
Thus, in case the enemy should really attempt a night departure, 
it stood ready to place itself in his front still further to the west- 
ward, and then bring him to a stand.* 

It was the intention to have drawn all the Corps still closer 
together, round the French Army on the 1st of September, and 
only to offer battle on the 2nd. However the observations made 
on the 31st of August, upon the demeanour of the enemy, caused 
an alteration in this plan. 

It had become perfectly clear, that each hour the resistance 
was prolonged, the enemy's troops lost energy in fighting; whole 
divisions had thrown away their knapsacks, and fled in masses; 
the roads were strewn with overturned waggons, and thrown away 
articles of baggage and equipment. It was above all, apprehended 
that the enemy was no longer disposed to fight, and perhaps 
meditated escaping during the night, as quickly as possible, to 
M^zi^res or on to Belgian territory. 

In order to prevent this, the King, after a long conference 
with the Crown Prince, his son, with the addition of Oeneral von 
Moltke and Lieutenant General von Blumenthal, commanded that 
the storming of Sedan, and the French fronts between the 
Meuse and the Ardennes, should be taken in hand on the follow- 
ing day. 

Even this evening, and during the night, the Wnrtemberg 

Division was to advance by Dom-le-Mesnil, lay a bridge there 



over the Menae, and cross the river. The XI. Army Corps was 
to lay two* bridges at Donch^ry, and also to cross the Mease. 

Thus it was hoped to cut off the road towards Mezihres 
from the French Army. 

Marshal Mac Mahon had most probably, intended to have 
gone to M^zi^res, but must have thought that there was still 
sufficient time to do so on the 1st of September. 

After Mouzon had been evacuated by the enemy on the 
evening of the 30th, and the last troops had been withdrawn to 
the left bank of the Meuse, the Marshal seeing the manifest im- 
possibility of bringing help to Marshal Bazaine, or even of reach- 
ing Montm^dy, gave orders on the night of the 30th, that the 
army was to retire upon Sedan. 

This measure was without doubt, the worst of all. The town 
of Sedan, which is included in the category of fortresses, is com- 
manded on several sides by ground rising above it, and is not 
well adapted to resist modem artillery. Moreover it was in- 
completely armed, badly provisioned, and possessed no outer works 
of defence. It was of no sort of value as a support to a retir- 
ing army, and therefore, its only importance consisted in its being 
connected with M^zi^res and Paris, by the railroad which passes 
by Hirson, and which was the sole means of replenishing the 
provisions and ammunition. 

It might have been better to have remained at Mouzon, to 
have occupied the heights upon the right bank, and to have 
delivered a battle, which though without hope of success, would 
at least have offered the possibility of a retreat. 

But the Marshal probably entertained the hope of reaching 
M^zi^res from Sedan. He was, perhaps, not informed of the 
march direction of the left wing of the German Armies, as the 
31st of August appears to indicate. 

The troops wearied by their uninterrupted marches, their 
mciral element impaired by the discomfitures which had followed 
one upon another, retired for the most part in disorder upon Sedan. 

The 1st and 5th Corps arrived there on the evening of 
the '30th and early in the morning of the 3l8t, and were formed 
up upon the heights to the west of Daigny and Qivonne. 



The 7th Corps reached the neighbourhood of Villers-Oemay 
on the morning of the Slst, and encamped there. It changed 
its position at 3 o'clock, in the afternoon; leaving a very nn- 
favourable tactical situation at Villers-Cemay, it took up a 
position to the north-west of Sedan , which it still held on the 
1st of September. 

The 12th Corps remained at Mouzon until the last, and did 
not begin to move until the morning of the 31st This was the 
only corps of the French Army engaged on the 3lBt of August, 
partly with its rear guard at Douzy, and partly at Bazeilles as 
already related. 

The Emperor Napoleon, who was with General Ducrofs 
Corps at Carignan on the evening of the 30th, where it was 
intended to have established the head-quarters, received the news 
of the retreat during the evening, and Marshal Mac Mahon's 
counsel to him to go by the railroad to Sedan. The Bmperor 
took this advice and then remained in Sedan, preferring to share 
the fate of his Army, in this desperate situation, to ensuring his 
own personal safety. 

General de Faiily was deprived of the command of his 
Corps on account of his bad leadership, and it was transferred to 
General Wimpffen. 

Thus on the evening of the 31st the diffSerent Corps stood 
as follows: 

(v. map L of the battle of Sedan.) 

The 12th Corps with the right wing resting upon Bazeilles, 
the 1st and 5th Corps at Givonne,- Daigny and Moncelle, as 
well as in the town itself, and the 7th Corps from Floing to 
Calvaire d'lUy. 

The Army was consequently formed in a semi^eircle round 

the town; both flanks resting upon the Meuse^ and probably 

no. army ever stood in battle, under more unfavourable 

conditions. The troops were threatened on all sides, and above 

all they had no line of retreat. If beaten they must flee into 

the town, that is into a number of defiles without exit, through 

narrow gates into streets that were overflowing with waggons and 


11 • 


Marshal Mac Mahon mnst^ however^ have been very ill- 
* informed as to his desperate sitaation, which is shown by various 
circumstances that are related of the 31st of August. 

Even in the afternoon^ when General Douay had proposed 
to him the change of position of the 7th Corps above mentioned, 
he answered in the following terms : ^I have no intention of being 
fotced into the comer, in a fortress, like Marshal Bazaine at Metz, 
but I shall manoBuvre before the enemy." 

Whilst therefore, the 7th Corps executed the movement, 
which he finally permitted, and whilst fighting was going on at 
Bazeilles with the Bavarians, a peasant (according to the same 
French source) informed General Douay that the enemy were 
crossing the Meuse below Sedan, near Donch^ry, and 10,000 men 
already appeared on the right bank. General Douay gave this 
information to the Marshal ; he however took no counter measures ; 
he had even, altogether, neglected to have the course of the 
river reconnoitred as far as M^zi^res. He evidently reckoned 
upon being able to reach M^zi^res upon the following day, and 
considered the crossing of the enemy at Donch^ry as a mere 

In the same way, a staff officer of the newly formed 13 th 
French Corps (which was this day in Mdzi^res), who had been 
sent by General Vinoy for the purpose of concerting some co- 
operations with Mac Mahon, after waiting in vain for four hours 
in the Marshal's anti-room, was finally obliged to retuiii with 
his mission unfulfilled, as he feared that he might find himself 
cut off later. 

If such faults as these can be rightly laid to the charge of 
Marshal Mac Mahon, who had always proved himself to be a 
general of capacity and experience in war, it must be concluded 
that the impossibility of the success of a plan, which was not his 
own, had imposed such a crushing weight upon his mind, that 
through it, he had lost his clear judgment. 



With the first glimmer of day, on the 1st of September, the 
attacking movements of the Oerman Armies commenced. 

The hour fixed by the Crown Prince of Saxony for the march 
of his Corps was 5 o'clock, in the moiiiing; the Garde Corps 
and the XII. Corps were to advance in three columns from Douzy, 
Poni*u-St.-Remy and Fouru-aux-BoiB, against the line of Moncelle 
and Givonne. The 7th Division was to remain in reserve at 
Mairy, the 8th Division and the Artillery Corps of the IV. Corps 
were to advance towards Bazeilles for the support of the I. Bava- 
rian Corps. 

The Crown Prince of Prussia disposed his Army as follows: 

The I. Bavarian Corps to cross the Meuse at Remilly and 
attack Bazeilles. 

The II. Bavarian Corps to go towards Wadelincourt 
and Fr6nois. 

The XI. Army Corps to direct its march upon St. 
Monges by Vrigne-aux-Bois. 

The V. Army Corps and the 4th Cavalry Division to 
follow this movement. 

The Wurtemberg Division to remain on the defensive 
towards M^zi^res, and at the same time to be in readiness 
as a disposable reserve at Donch^ry. 

Early in the Dooming of this memorable 1st of September, 
a battle d^y, the results of which were the most brilliant if not 
the most important of the whole war, a thick fog hung over the 
heights and in the low land of the Meuse valleys, which com- 
pletely concealed all distant objects from view, as the Bavarians 
advanced against Bazeilles in the beginning of the fight It wad 
only later in the morning that this veil, which obscured the scene 
of the great event, began to sink, the heights became clear, 
the fog, becoming less dense under the influence of the sun, began 
to waver and fluctuate iitermixed with the smoke of the powder, 
then withdrew into the valleyB, until at last, at midday, all the 
movements of the army were executed under a clear sky. 


The village of Bazeitles formed that point d^appui of the 
French Army, which was first contested. It lies about 4000 
paces from Sedan iu the neighbourhood of the Mouse, and was 
the outermost point of the semicircular line of villages, farmsteads 
and foundries which, following the chain of heights on the right 
bank of the Mouse, indicated the French position. From Bazeilles 
in a more northerly direction the villages of La Moncelle, Daigny 
and Givonne should be named as forming part of this line; then 
to the north-west Illy, Fleigneux, St. Monges and, to the south of 
the latter, Floing. 

Towards the east, the heights from Illy to Bazeilles were of 
a nature to afford good opportunities for defence to the French 
Army. They fall down steeply towards the brook, between 
Daigny and Givonne they are wooded; here, and also further down 
to the Mouse, they are divided into several sections by small 
parallel valleys, and offer good positions for the most efficacious 
infantry and artillery fire against the opposite slope, from which 
the assailants must approach. 

In the north, the Calvaire d'lUy, the height to the south of 
Illy, was of great importance, and French generalship must venture 
everything in order to maintain this commanding point, in the 
centre of the line. 

The French left wing, on the other hand, found less favour- 
able conditions of ground. The villages of St. Monges and Floing, 
with the eminence between them, here served as points d*appui. 
General Douay, however, had done every thing to improve his 
position, he had made the Engineer Corps lay gun-emplacemients, 
and put the wood in his front into a state of defence. 

In the middle of this semicircle, one mile*) in diameter, lay 
the fortress of Sedan, a town of 16,000 inhabitants, surrounded 
by extensive Vauban fortifications, which could be advantageously 
reached with guns of long range from several sides, and 
particularly well from the heights at Fr^nois and Wadelincourt 
upon the left bank of the Mouse, where a mass of destructively 
efficacious guns were formed up by the Germans, at a later 

*) 43/5 English miles. 


period of the battle , when the French Army was retiring to- 
wards Sedan. 

At break of day the King repaired to this point for a general 
survey of the whole battle field, and occupied it until the end of 
the fight. 

Marshal Mac Mahon had issued no dispositions for the battle 
on the 1st of September (according to French accounts), so that 
each Corps Commander was obliged to act according to his own 
judgment. As early as 5 o'clock, he went to the out-posts, and 
soon after, whilst ordering some details for the Ist Corps, was 
severely wounded in the thigh by the fragment of a shell. He 
gave over the command to General Ducrot. 

The battle began at Bazeilles, This well sun*ounded place, 
completely built of stone houses, was occupied by the 3rd Division 
of Lebrun's Corps, 12,000 men of the Marine Inftmtry, who 
defended themselves with the greatest obstinacy, and for hearly 
six hours contested every foot of ground, each house and every 
step in the streets, with the storming Bavarians. 

The advanced guard of the I. Bavarian Corps, under Major 
General Dietl, moved forward against Bazeilles towards 4. 30 
o'clock in the morning, followed by the 1st and then the 2nd 
Division, so that the whole Corps was by degrees involved in the 
fight round this impt^rtant place. The artillery was driven up on 
to the heights to the north-east of Bazeilles, and although the 
majority were obliged to venture into the fire of tirailleurs, 
they opened a vigorous fire in order to shake the enemy's divisions. 
The broad main street and the cross streets branching at right 
angles firom it, the old wide village street lying next the Meuse, 
as well as the park of the Chateau Monville, reaching ne^ly to 
the subtrrbs, were advantageously situated for mutual support, 
thus considerably increasing the tenacity of the defence, which 
was effectively aided by cannon and mitrailleuses, whilst the French 
detachments engaging made a vigorous stand and frequent onslaughts 
with closed battalions. 

Towards 10 o'clock, the whole place was in the hands of 
the Bavarians, and it presented a terrible picture of destruction. 
Not a single house remaitied standing. 


Meanwhile, the XI. Army Corps was on the hill upon the 
opposite side, after having accomplished the passage of the Meuse 
during the night; in its farther advance to Vrigne-aux-Bois it had 
not met with the enemy, and it was therefore clear that the march 
to M^zi^res was not intended. 

Each hour the enclosing of the French Army perceptibly 
drew nearer to its completion. 

The leading troops of the Crown Prince of Saxony had com- 
menced fighting at Lamecourt and La Moncelle, at 6. 30 o'clock 
in the morning. The 1st French Corps, had strongly occupied 
Montvillers, La Moncelle and Daigny, lying opposite, as well as 
the heights to the east of this place. 

Half an hour later the advanced guard of the Garde Corps^ 
on the right of the XU. Army Corps came upon the French 
position, whilst its columns, coming up by Pouru-St.-Remy and 
Pouru-aux-Bois, in part wheeled gradually into line to the left, 
and in part continued the march in the direction of Fleigneux, in 
order to take up the connection with the troops who had advanced 
from Vrigne-aux-Bois to attack the French left wing. 

In a short time, the 24th Division succeeded in throwing 
back the enemy so far that it was enabled to develope between 
La Moncelle and Daigny. By this means the Saxons established 
connection with the Bavarians. The first batteries of the Garde 
Corps came into position at Yillera-Cemay, towards 9 o'clock. To 
oppose their attack. General Ducrot, the new French Commander 
in Chief, decided to take the offensive, and indeed, attempted to 
surround the German right wing, between Givonne and Villers- 

For this object, be made the 2nd Brigade of Grandchamp's 
Division advance from Daigny, and gave orders to Lartigue's 
Division to take the plateau to tlve east of Givonne. 

These troops made the attempt to carry out the disposition, 
but were much too weak for it. . They were repulsed, Daigny 
was taken by the Saxons at midday, and Haybes was wrested 
from the French by the 2nd Garde Division. 

At this time General Ducrot was superseded in the Chief 
command by his senior, General fVinipffen, who claimed it. 


The Prussian Garde Corps continued its movement upon 
Fleigneux and Illy. 

The 23rd Division also moved up the valley, and the 8th 
Division pushed forward into the space between its left flank 
and the Bavarians. 

AH the disposable batteries were brought into position upon 
the stormed heights, so that, upon this wing alone, about 100 guns 
were in action. 

At 2 o'clock^ the right wing of the Prussian Garde Corps 
united with the left wing of the V. Corps at Illy. 

Upon this side and at Floing, as well as in the south 
of Sedan, the battle had developed itself in the f({llowing 
manner : 

At 7 o'clock in the morning the Crown Prince of Prussia 
gave orders to the XI. Corps, which was at Briancourt, to march to 
the front and wheel to the right upon St. Monges, the V. Corps 
to follow the XI., and the 4th Cavalry Division to conform to the 
movements of the last corps. 

From the violence of the cannonade at Bazeilles, it was con- 
jectured that the I. Bavarian Corps must have met with consider- 
able resistance^ Walter's Division was therefore also ordered, at 
7 o'clock, to move to Remilly in support of the I. Corps, Bothmer's 
Division to Wadelincoui*t, and there to take up a position against 
Sedan. Walter's Division crossed tie Mouse in rear of the I. 
Bavarian Corps, formed up upon its left flank, and in conjunction 
with it threw back the enemy by Bazeilles and Balan to- 
wards Sedan. 

At 7. 30 o'clock, the XI. Corps directed its advanced guard 
upon St. Monges, where the 7th French Corps had taken up a 
position, to the south of the brook. 

Here the first shots fell at a quai*ter to 9 o'clock. After an 
obstinate resistance the 7tli French Cprps evacuated the position 
at St. Monges, and withdrew to its main position, upon the 
heights between Floing and Illy. 

The XI. Corps, perceiving that it could only fulfil its change 
by taking possession of the heights lying in front, immediately 
drove up the two leading batteries on each side of the unwalled 


garden, which lies to the south of St. MoDges, upon the heights 
to the west of Floing, and caused the infantry to follow. 

The V. Corps had placed its Artillei^y Corps at its head, 
and passed the brook to the north of Fleigneux, and had made 
its batteries form up upon the heights to the south of Fleignenx 
against the enemy's position. The infantry formed for the attack 
in rear of the guns. At 11 o'clock, a vigorous cannonade took 
place, between the batteries of both corps and the enemy's 

The Wurtemberg Division and the 2nd Cavalry Division had 
crossed the bridges at Dom-le-Mesnil at 9 o'clock, and gone in the 
direction of Vrigne-aux-Bois. At 9. 30 o'clock, the first received 
orders to move to Donchdry, and remain in reserve to the north 
of that place. 

At 11 o'clock, the troops of the Third Army were disposed 
as follows: 

XI. Corps at St. Monges, the artillery to the south of 
the place. 

V. Corps at Fleigneux, the artillery also to the south. 

4th Cavali-y Division to the south of Trolsfontaine ; the 
horse batteries to the east of the copse, firing upon the enemy's 
guns at Floing. 

The Wurtemberg Division on the march to Donchery; one 
detachment of Hiigel's Brigade at the bridge of Dom-le-Mesnil 
and towards M^^eres. 

The Artillery Corps of the I. Bavarian Corps was upon the 
heights of Wadelincourt , with two batteries upon the tongue of 
land to the north-east of Villette, engaged with the enemy's artillery 
at Floing. 

The I. Bavarian Corps and Walter's Division of the II. Corps 
in Bazeilles. 

The 2nd Cavalry Division to the west of Vrigne-aux-Bois. 

The batteries of the V. Corps, to the south of Fleigneux, 
constantly outflanked the right wing of the French 7th Corps, 
and forced it to be always bringing fresh batteries into the line 
of fire. Conseil Dumesnil's Division was shortly after, ordered to- 
occupy the heights of the plateau towards Illy; Bordas' Brigade, 


belongiDg to Dambnfs Division ^ was then sent out in the same 
direction and liad taken up a position on tlie ieft of the road to 
Illy, with its right flank joining Wolff's Division of the 1st Corps, 
which had occupied the woods upon this side. 

The fight along the whole line was originally an artil- 
lery engagement. 

Towards 10 o'clock, however, the French remarked that 
strong infantry columns were descending the heights from St. 
Monges, and moving towards the position of the 7th Corps. 

Two mitrailleuse batteries, which had been brought up against 
these columns (of the XI. Corps), no doubt inflicted great k)SBes 
upon them, but were just as little able as all the other means of 
defence, to prevent the extension of the German front of attack. 

At midday General Wimpffen inspected the whole French 
line of battle, which still formed an unbroken semicircle. On the 
right, the 12th Corps, supported by the 5th Corps, still vigorously 
maintained the defensive, although it had lost its original position ; 
in the centre, the 1st Corps fought obstinately with the victorious, 
but only gradually pressing on, Saxons and Prussian Guards. 
Upon the left flank, the Divisions of the 7th Corps firmly held 
their positions. General Douay here drew the Commander in 
Chiefs attention to the importance of the plateau of Illy for his 
Divisions, which, if taken by the enemy, would immediately make 
the position of the 7th Corps untenable. General Wimpffen 
assured him that this part of the battle field was already over- 
strong in troops. 

Shortly afterwards, however, the 7th Corps observed that 
the plateau mentioned was precipitately evacuated by the 1st 
Corps. The attack of the Prussian Guards had caused this retreat. 

General Douay at once led two battalions to the imperilled 
point,, and requested reinforcements from the Commander in Chief. 
After some time he sent Lef^bvre's Brigade from the 1st Coi*p8. 

The resistance, however, was quite inadequate against the 
resolute advance of the Prussian columns. fVhen the Garde 
Corps and the V, Corps united^ shortly aftertvards, upon the 
plateau of Ilhfy the battle was decided. 


The left wing of the French 7th Corps, threatened in the 
flank, was as little able to maintain its position as the 1st Corps. 

General Wimpffen had recourse to the cavalry. 

With extraordinary impetuosity the French cavalry regiments 
repeatedly threw themselves upon the threatening German columns 
as they advanced, but without success. 

Partly in line, partly in squares, the German infantry received 
the charging troopers and drove them back with enormous losses. 
Just as had been the case, before, in the battle of Woerth, the 
devoted bravery of the masses of horsemen, attacking again and 
again with obstinate persistency, led to no result which could 
alter the course of the battle. Fresh proof was given that the 
employment of cavalry, which frequently exhibited decisive results 
in the battles of Napoleon I., is impossible against the precise and 
rapid fire of infantry of the present day, and can only be termed, 
a sacrifice of this arm. It may be that the cavalry attack 
at Sedan originated chiefly in a feeling of proud shame, which 
would not suffer the infantry and artillery alone to devote them- 
selves to death. 

After these desperate efforts had also failed, whole detach- 
ments of the French Army retired upon Sedan, and for the most 
part gave up the fight. 

Considerable masses had been taken prisoners during the 

The German artillery now commanded the field of battle 
from all sides, and produced the greatest confusion amongst the 
troops both in and outside the fortress. 

Towards 3 o'clock in the afternoon. General Wimpffen con- 
ceived the plan of attempting to break through at some spot, 
with a resolute body of 3000 men, in order to deliver the Emperor 
from the enclosing circle of the German Armies. But the Emperor 
having been present in person upon the field of battle for a long 
time, was convinced of the hopelessness of such an attempt, and 
did not consent to this plan. General Wimpffen, seeing that a 
capitulation was unavoidable, tendered his resignation. The Emperor 
did not accede to his request, and addressed a letter to the General 
in which he expressed his acknowledgement of his services. 

^2 q nVfnrfr (t 'hi ' ''^- ~--'~ "^'*' ^-"""" ^rmiet 

succeBB of 




capitulation was unavoiffaBle,'" tend d. The Emperor 

did not accede to bis request, ar er to the General 

in which he ezpresBed hie ack > aerrices, 


At 3 o^clocky (y. the map) the circle of the German Armies 
was dravm together so closely round the French Army^ that 
llic only apparent remaining choice lay between capitulation 
and destruction. The heavy battery at Fresnois opeued fire upou 
the town, and after only 20 minuteB, the falling shells produced 
conflagrations in different parts. 

The King perceiving the desperate situation of the con- 
quered enemy j decided to offer capitulation. He ordered the 
firing to cease, and sent off Lieutenant Colonel von Bronsart of 
the Staff as a parlementaire, with the summons for the suiTender 
of the army and the fortress. This parlementaire was met direct- 
ly by a Bavarian officer, who brought the news to the King 
that a French parlementaire had appeared at the gate of Sedan. 

Simultaneously, therefore, with the King's decision to offer 
capitulation, the Emperor Napoleon liad intended to propose 
commencing negotiations. When Lieutenant Colonel von Bronsart 
asked in Sedan, for the Commander in Chief, to his astonishment 
he was brought before the Emperor, whose presence in Sedan 
was not known for certain on the German side, although it was 

In reference to the royal summons for a capitulation. Lieute- 
nant Colonel von Bronsart was tlien referred to General Wimpffen, 
and the Emperor wrote a letter to the King in which he sur- 
rendered himself as prisoner of war. The imperial Adjutant 
General, Reille, reached the King with this dispatch at 7 o'clock 
in the evening , just after von Bronsart, who was somewhat in 
advance of him, had communicated the presence of the Emperor. 

In this memorable moment the war had reached a crisis. 
The Imperial armies were vanquished. Whilst one, confined between 
the foi*ts of Metz, had lost all communication witli the rest of the 
country, tlie otfier now stood under the German guns, at the 
mercy of the conqueror. 

The object for which the French Emperor had begun the 
war — moral and material compensation to the empire for the 
success of K5niggr&tz — must now be regarded as definitively 
wrecked. To restore peace on the other hand, if possible under 
acceptable terms, must now be recognised as the object to be desired. 


That this peaee did pot follow ^ after sach> deciBive events, is 
owing to the circumstaiiGes, which at this moment; separated the 
interests of France from those of the Empire. 

After the King had given General Reille a letter for the 
Emperor containing his acceptance of the Imperial sword, and at 
the same time had verbally laid emphasis upon the disarmament 
of the French army as a primary condition, he gave over the 
charge of the diplomatic and military negotiations to the Chancellor 
of the Confederation and the Chief of the Staff, and repaired 
to Vendresse for the night, amid the rejoicings of his troops. 

Generals von Moltke and de Wimpffen remained together in 
Donoh^ry until the evening of the 1st of September. 

They came however, to no agreement. The French General 
could not consent to the conditions offered, which included the 
imprisonment of the whole army. He returned to Sedan and 
summoned all the Corps Commanders and Divisional Generals to 
a council of war. In this 30 votes out of 32 pronounced against 
the resumption of hostilities. General de Wimpffen had been out 
of favour with his Imperial master before the war; he had only 
been recalled to the army after the day of Gravelotte. Upon his 
report, perhaps on account of his urgency — French sources 
speak of stormy scenes between him and Napoleon — the 
Emperor decided in the night, to enter into negotiations personally 
with Count Bismarck. 

Early on the following morning, in the cottage of a weaver 
near Donch^ry, a conference of several hours took place between 
the Emperor and the Chancellor^ in which General von Moltke 
at times took part. What passed here has not; up to the present 
day, been made known. Hot words may probably have fallen on 
Napoleon's side. 

It can well be imagined, that the conclusion of peace was 
discussed; the demands however,, which Count Bismarck put 
before the vanquished Emperor, could not have appeared accept- 
able to him. 

Even after the first battles round Metz the French press 
made use of the phrase, so often repeated later: "France is rich 
enough to pay for her misfortune"; after the panic in Paris on 


the 7th of August, they had acoaatomed tiiemselves to own the 
posBibility of a disasterouB war. ^'Money but not a foot of land'' 
was their motto. 

The state of affairs was now altered. The unprecedented 
and extremely rapid successes^ entitled the royal General and his 
counsellors to require more than money as the price of victory 
won by German strength , and the quantity of blood shed, laid 
them under an obligation, to demand the country of their own 
tongue^ which had been lost through German weakness, two 
hundred years before. 

Napoleon was unwilling to give his consent in authorisation 
of such terms, which hard as they might be, would have spared 
France a humiliation unexampled in her history. He probably 
felt convinced that a peace which dismembered French territoiy 
would make his dynasty impossible, and therefore refe^Ted the 
peace negotiations to the Empress Regent. That is to say, he 
refused the peace , for the coming events which upset the 
regency, allowed themselves to be easily foreseen. 

Thus General Wimpffen found himself obliged before midday, 
to conclude with General Moltke the memorable capitulation of 

This served later as a type for most of the other capitulations ; 
its tenor is as follows: 

Art 1. The French Army, under the Chief command 
of General Wimpffen, surrender, as prisoners of war, being 
at the present time enclosed in Sedan, by superior forces. 

Art 2. In consideration of the brave defence made by 
this French army, all generals, officers and officials with the 
rank of officers ai^e here excepted, as soon as they have 
given in writing their word of honour not to take up arms 
again until the conclusion of the present war, and in no 
way to act against the interests of Germany. The officers 
and officials who accept these conditions, retain their arms 
and the peipsonal effects belonging to them. 

Art. 3. AH arms and war material, consisting of 
colours, eagles, cannon, ammunition &q«, will be given up in 
Sedan to a military commission, appointed by the French 


General^ who will be held immediately responsible for them 
to the German commissioners. 

Art. 4. The fortress of Sedan is to be placed at the 
disposal of his Majesty the King of Prussia, in its present 
condition, and at the latest, on the evening of the 2nd of 

Art. 5. The officers who do not enter into the engage- 
ment mentioned in Art. 2., will be disarmed as well as the 
troops, and ordered to surrender according to their regiments 
or corps in military order. This measure will be commenced 
on the 2nd of September and completed on the 3rd. These 
detachments will be conducted on to the ground which is 
bounded by the Meuse at Iges, in order to be given 
up to the German commissioners, by the officers, who will 
then hand over their commands to their non-commissioned 
officers. The army surgeons, without exception, will remain 
behind for the care of the wounded. 

Given at Fresnois, on the 2nd September 1870. 
von Moltke. Count fVimpffen^ 
The interview which took place between the two Monarchs 
at the Chateau Bellevue, on the road from Sedan to Donch^ry 
(v. the map), did not occur until after this capitulation had been 
signed. It only lasted for a quarter of an hour ; immediately 
after, the captive Emperor, accompanied at his own request, by a 
Pi'ussian escort, went by Belgium to WilhelmshShe, the residence 
appointed for him. 

The carrying out of the capitulation commenced forthwith. 
The French Army, without means of subsistence for two days, 
crowded together in the narrow streets and fortifications in and 
round Sedan, already presented a picture of complete dis- 

Of the 140,000 soldiers with which Mac Mahon had begun 
his march to the north; a small part, about 10,000 men, had 
escaped to M^zi^res and over the Belgian frontier, about 20,000 
dead and wounded covered the battle field, above 20,000 had 
been taken prisoners during the fight, and through the capitula- 
tion, 39 generals, 230 field officers, 2095 subaltern officers. 


excluding 500 released on pai*ole, and 84,433 men, became 
prisoners of war. ^ 

400 field guns, including 70 mitrailleuses, and 150 guns 
of position belonging to the fortress of Sedan, were amongst the 
large quantity of material captured. 

France's last army in the field was destroyed. 

This enormous success called forth the most general rejoic- 
ings in Germany; the end of the war was looked upon as imminent. 
These hopes were doomed to disappointment. 

The Republic which raised itself upon the ruins of the 
overthrown Empire y entered upon the fatal inheritance of 
this war. 







OF 8£DAK. 

what meatts h)id Frttii^ nt her eottunaiid fbt pros^Htihg this 
w«r, after the Umpire had beeta ove^rown, and the meiAy Who 
pr^tiottBly had fornied the oppoBiti<Mi; had UdurpM the telns of 
gi(»vertiiiie&t on the 4th of September^ in order to carty on thfe wak* 
to the uttermost? 

What was the military situation of France? 

A victorious German ahnff, <it 240,000 men, eoiifident bf 
vietory, was ibarehing npon th^ eapital; the cavalry bf their 
adtaneed guards Was already scouring the cotibtry within a Ifew 
days march of Pluris. A second army ef the Dame stfbiigth, was 
on the Moselle, and kept the strotigefirt fbHress in Frabee Abd her 
ottly army, closely 6nm)ttnded; a hundred thotl6and GeilbAn Iw^air- 
riors held the captured frontier cottntrf, and were gradually ebclbs- 
ing all the fortified places between the Rhibe And Paris. The 
important fortress of Strasbbrg had nearly sncoumbed; 160^000 
men of the Landwehr were on the march ttom Gtermaby, and 
arriving by de^*ees in the theati^ of war; lastly, over 200,000 
troops stood in readiness^ in Oehnany, to replace easbaltiell. 

On the othiBr htmd, a Frmth upiny di M» field did iMt 
ejsut. There were still about 25,000 infenti^y, 21500 eavaliy 
and 50 guns of the Imjierial army, disposable for em^ldymebt in 
Fraaee; the rest could b<^, poMibly^ be withdMWb ^om Albert. 
There were besides, a great number of depdtiS, fMni Which bodi^Js 
ef troops oould be fbfllied in eitse of Med, Aftd hMd lilt«ady been 


formed to some extent The old soldiers and . officers of the 
empire^ who had served out their time, could be again enrolled. Then 
the Garde Mobile could be brought' into the field ; a large number 
of men, who, however, at first, bore very small resemblance to 
serviceable troops ; lastly the Garde Nationale, a combative element, 
whose fitness for war was certainly very doubtful. 

There was a great scarcity of arms and horses;^ many of the 
rifles were of obsolete construction. 

France, nevertheless, possessed numerous and very strong 
fortresses, which might be able to detain the enemy until an 
army was formed out of the undrilled, unarmed but numerous 
forces, capable, with superior handling, of offering some resistance 
to tlie German armies. The credit of France sufficed for the 
purchase of arms and horses, and lastly, her geographical for- 
mation offered very favourable elements for a prolonged defence. 

Under these circumstances, the new Republican government 
formed the plan of prosecuting the war against the powerfully 
developed strength of Germany. 

The men, who had usurped the reins of government on the 
4th of September, in the face of the most dangerous elements of 
revolt by which it was threatened, were some of France's best, 
with the exception of Bochefort and a few insignificant individuals, 
and to them is due the merit of having, by their usurpation, made 
the dominion of the Communists, at that time, impossible. They 
were patriots, they loved their country, and were, ready to sacrifice 
themselves for it, but— they, possessed neither the judgment, nor 
the power of governing j under the difficult circumstances in whieh 
France was theu placed. In order to remain at the head, they 
were obliged to carry the tendencies of public opmion, by which 
they were supported and entirely borne, too far; republicans 
through conviction, and without bemg also endowed with special 
statesmanlike qualities, they confounded the means with the end, 
and pursued republican chimeras, under the delusion that they 
were serving France. At a later period, after having tasted the 
sweetness of command, a pure lust of power yras, in a few, added 
to their other faults. 

A great country possesses rich resources, and France was 


quite one af the richest .ooimtrieB in Europe. A great power 
hM further, by its very natare and properties, the advantage of 
carrying within itself such an immense amount of strength, even 
after severe defeats, that its victorious opponent would willingly, 
be satisfied with a cheap peace, contenting himself with the main- 
tenance of his right to secure himself against future danger. For 
he knows, that a complete destruction of the conquered enemy is 
accompanied by immense sacrifices upon his own side, and for a 
long time to come renders a salutary intimacy, in every relation, 

Modem times have to some extent departed from the principle 
of former days, that a nation's strength is founded in its neighbour's 
weakness, and statesmen begin to discern that in destroying the 
prosperity of a neighbouring state, the prosperity of a good cus- 
tomer is also ruined. The Prussian government, the most enlight- 
ened of all, certainly never entertained the foolish plan, imputed 
to it by French organs, of forcing France to the level of a second 
rate power. 

The means of resistance which France still possessed after 
the capitulation of Sedan, were quite adapted to serve as the 
basis of a peace, which, although probably painful, would not have 
been destructive to the state, and the republican government, whose 
supporters in the legislative body had pleaded so zealously against 
the war before its commencement, would now have found the most 
favourable opportunity of oflTering the hand of peace, whilst imput- 
ing all the blame to the Empire. 

The members of the new government were, doubtless, not 
altogether impervious to this view of the case. Whilst the approach 
of the Germans and the investment of Paris was being effected, a 
step was taken, by the more moderate among them, which had 
peace for its aim. The clever parliamentary speaker, Jtdes Fanre^ 
appeared several times at the German head-quarters for negotia- 
tions with Count Bismarck. These were, however, broken off 
chiefly upon the same grounds as those which had wrecked the 
negotiations with Napoleon on the 2nd of September. The men 
of the 4th of September, had started with the phrase: ^^Ni un 
pouee de noire terriiairey ni une pierre de nos forleresses /" 




/ i Belleville the echo somided: ^^JVi un ieu de notre 

\ Then, the republican govemment wonld not take upon 
. •••v^ blame of a separation of territory, In opposition to the 
French people, bo deeply wounded in their vanity, and syste- 
matically deceived, becanse in bo doing they forcBaw their own 

The welfaie of the whole of great France now fell a victim 
to the aima of the republican party, jnst as it had, previonsly, 
been Bacrifieed to the interesti of the Bonaparte dynasty. This 
arose from an internal need ; it was the* consequence of o^tBries 
of a perverted system of government, the terrible result of which 
was, that no govemment was able to mmntain itself which did not 
invest the state with external brilliancy. 

In this state of affairs, it became the sacred duty of the 
German goveiiiment to obtain secure guarantees for the conclusion 
of a lasting peace; concessions, which might, perhaps, have been 
{Hraoticable if opposed to a strong government and sound state, 
could not be made to the ephemeral company of the Hdtel de 

Thus unhappy France had to reap in Ml measure the bitter 
fi*uits of long accumulated faults; the ship of state was driven, 
rudderless, in the storm iimong rocks. Under a complete misappre- 
hension of their task, with unparalleled wantonness and haughty 
boasting, the extreme party, whose soul was Gmmbetta^ soon began 
a work which, in a short time, troafoled and exfaansted the best 
sources of the nation^s prosperity, and uprooted the foundation of 
moral and state order. 

In order to inflame the nation for the prosecution of the war, 
a 83natem of lies on a grand scale, was comm^ieed; the sruccesses 
of the German arms were denied or lessened and their own situa- 
ti<m was placed in a favourable light. This howev^, wa» managed 
in such a short-sighted and nnskilfnl manner, that, very soon, 
the infaiUble oonsequenoes produced by state lies showed tibemseives 
in general mistrust and fear. 

In order to eoUect the large armies which were required, the 
levy of soldiers waa carried to excess, and men were assembled 
in great numbers in the camps, and led to the battle fields, some 


of whom were imfit for figMang, and others wore taken from civil 
poftitioBSy from whieh they conld ill be spared without considerable 
detriment to the productive strength of the country. Thus, at 
first despondency, then general indiflferenee, indolence and negligence 
gained ground amongst a population, previously famed for its 
diligence and industrial tastes. 

In order to strengthen and confirm their irregularly established 
government, the rulers of the National Defence gradually loosened 
all the bands of order, wliich had been imposed by the former 
government, (although at the beginning still making use of the old 
system, but with new members), and made as it were a clear 
course, on which all the elements, bad and good, raged in unfet- 
tered confusion. They appealed to the sympathies of all the 
countries of Europe, but especially to the Sjrmpathies of all 
republican parlies, and at home they called up all the strength 
and talent, for an unlimited concurrence in the .defence of the 

This produced extraordinary activity and exertion, but at the 
same time, great coufusion and want of design. Not only the 
generality of the parties, but also all restless spirits, believed 
that the time and oppoi*tunity had arrived^ each for himself to 
make capital out of his own views. 

In the general disorder, adventurers were attracted from all 
the principal countries, in order to seek their own advantage, either 
by serving their facticms, by pursuing selfish and ambitious plans 
or only by robbery and plunder. With them came to light all 
those dark existences of the disordered country itself, who, from 
time to time, are obliged to conceal themselves from a strong 
government, in the hiding places of the great towns, and are only 
heard of, now and then,* on the discovejy of secret papers and a 
conspiracy. These men now emerged and formed bands of thieves 
and ro^bbers, or became the heads of factions, in order to begin, 
later, the war of the Commune against the bourgeoisie. 

And hardly lees, was the state injured by those more nobly 
constituted, but impractical natures, who now eathusiastieally urged 
their chimerical idea^, with proposals and plans, and perplexing 
interference, in the arrangements c^ (he officials and generals. 


That amid such disturbing inflnences, and tinder an incapable 
Chief Direction, a copsiderable resistance shonld, neveiiihelesB, 
have been offered to the German armies, for almost five months 
longer, is an evidence of the amount of military feeling and 
of the many resources which France still possessed, and, on 
the other hand, shows how favourable the geographical and po- 
litical position of the country was for a defensive war. 

With regard to the latter, three points are conspicuous, as of 
essential moment In the first place, the importance of Paris* 
This giant city was so completely the central point of the whole 
of France, where, without exception, all the threads of government 
and administration met together, and no possibility of any altera- 
tion in this respect had ever been taken into consideration, that 
the occupation of this capital, appeared to the enemy to be indis- 
pensably necessary for the conclusion of the war. The Capital 
was, however, , not only of the highest importance as the centre of 
the state, but it was also a fortress of such strength that its con- 
quest required an unusual exertion of power ; it needed such a vast 
army to enclose it, that comparatively few troops were left for 
other operations. 

Secondly, Bazaine^s Army and the fortress of Metz, 
formed an important factor in every calculation of the eventualities 
of the war. These two means of strength, united together, hung 
like a heavy weight on all the operations of the Germans in the 
west. They represented a great combined force, which required 
the continual pressure of 200,000 men in order to prevent a dan- 
gerous explosion for the Germans. 

So long as Metz held out, the armies which opposed the 
advance of the Germans in the west, or moved on for the 
relief of Paris, had always a powerful ally in rear of the 

The third substantial support of the defence^ was the long 
line of advantageously placed sections of country^ extending 
from Le Mans, by Orleans, along the course of the Loire as 
far as the mountains of the Cdte dHOr^ to the plateau of 
Langres and to the Fosges^ and ending at the still unconquered 
Strasburg. Upon this whole line, which continually skirted the 


lines of oommnnicationa of the advaaeing Oerman forces, annies 
ooaid be united which would find powerfol assistance from the 
extensiye ooontry in their rear, and find secure points of support 
in the nature of the ground. These armies rendered it necessary 
that the German lines of communication from the Rhine to Paris 
should be strongly occupied, and thus weakened the German armies 
destined for frirther operations, and, as soon as they had obtained 
a certain amount of organization and strength, even threatened 
the investing army round Paris. . 

Again, in consequ^ice of its having been proclaimed Hhe 
people's war'*, a state of general insecurity had been created in 
the provinces already occupied by the Germans, rendering the 
empl<^ment of troops everywhere necessary, especially in the 
mountainous and ^oody country of Lorraine and the north of 
Champagne. The safety of the Etappen stations and the transport 
escorts, employed a large number of troops, which reduced the 
efifective strength of the corps in battle. 

Lastly, the whole of northern France is dotted with fortresses 
of different sise and importance, which served as points of appui 
to the resistance, as places of refuge to the bands of Franes- 
Tireurs , as well as ti'oublesome checks in the way of the German 
lines of communication. The conquest of all these fortified places 
was essential, and required a considerable expenditure of troops 
and gun material. 

To take advantage of these favourable opportunities for de- 
fence, this great country, of almost forty millions of inhabitants, 
affiled a sufficient number of men who could be. made into sol- 
diers by military art. In fact, the government succeeded in 
bringing together a very numerous army, certainly of a very diver- 
sified character, and generally, of very little value in a militfiry 
pomt of view. 

The active forces of France, at the beginning of September, 
may be divided into the following laige bodies. 

Of regular troops^ only an insignificant number still remained 
in the field. 

Of Infantry there were only seven regiments, and three battalions 
left, via. first, the 16th, 38th, 39th and 42nd Regiments of thQ 

Line and the Fomigi Bagimeiity as well us Hivee iMfttaUoaa off 
j&ephiTB (Ld^ lafantry, a kind of p«iial detacfament). ThMe^ wifli 
the exception of the ^ephiia, hod iilfeady been brovght over hrto 
France from Algiers. SeoonMy, the 3dth and 42nA BegimMilB of 
&.e Line, whkh had oome from OiFita YeceUa. 

Of Cacalryy there were stili five regiments of the line 
existing, the 1st and dud Chaateuie and the 8th HnssaiB, whkh 
had, at first, been left in Algiem; the' 7th and 8th Ghasseiirs, 
which bad remained on the Spanish frontier in the bcgiaiiiqg. 

Of ArtUlerffj in formed bodies, there was onlj one xcgiment, 
consisting of eight batteries, disposable ; this had been brought «Tcr 
from Algiers. 

For the formation of regular troops^ the depdt» were Ae 
first aTailable means. . 

There were 114 Infantry dep6ts of 6compaviee, 21JagerdepdtB of 
fi companies, 60 cavalry depots of 1 squadron, and 2 1 Artillery depots <^ 
400 men, in existence, besides depots of Engineers and Train. 

To these foundations other soldiers were added, thos6 who 
liad served their time, partly reserves, partly old siMiers who had 
been released from all duty in the service, but were now re- 
engaged, as well as the recruits who had been drawn in. Out of 
all these troops assembling at the dep5ts, four baUalions were 
formed at first, and from these battalions. Infantry Reffimenls de 
Marchcj consisting of three battalions, were formed. Of these 
regiments, however, four belonging to the 12th Oorps had already 
fallen into captivity at Sedan. 

Altogether, there were formed from such ti*oops : of Infantry ^ 
56 regiments and 14 battalions (Jager battalions de marche); of 
Cavalry^ 8 cavalry regiments de marche, 4 Zouave and 1 Alge- 
rian Tirailleur regiment de marche ; a second foreign regiment was 
also formed at a later period, composed of all sorts of elements. 
At the beginning of the new epoeh in the war the Artillery 
was very deficient in gun material; there were however, a tolerable 
number of soldiers belonging to that branoh. 

Thus there could be formed from 150,000 to 200)000 men, 
who received the name of ^^ regular troops'* as a distinction, 
although the greater part could not raise * very high elaim to 


tlM <|ii|diii9»ti09i|l 9i s«A troop% 90li4itj in oiyaiUsfutio% AiBoipline, 
9fiA yrfil gttiumMi inatraetiQii in tb^ ^8« of «jrm. 

IKttit to tbe»& troops, tber« ware i^s»e tai^tioal boAi^ft compoi^ 
a^ follows : . 

A prmmonai Zqu^^ refiw^ in Paris^ fanned from (he 
4wp«m4 HiiMi of tbo old S^^ve regim^A^i furtbar time x^ 
ments of mixed cavalry^ and lastly the reg^iments €on»»d of 
tl^fi G^dami^ ia Paris, 1 of foot imd 2 of bor^ 4)to|[ether per- 
\i9^ 6000 men. 

Tbi^ contingeat fonned from the Marine service must next 
be matntioned, {is a really capable and serviceable element foi the 
delenc^ of tbe country. The personal state of the whole fleet, 
ln<^udi9g the colonial troops, mechanics and harbour workmen 
amounted to about 100,000 men. It is true that a considerable 
portion of the marine infantry had beeu annihilated at Sedau, but 
there were still about 6000 men remaining, and in addition to 
these certainly 20,000 sailors yet for disposal. These men not 
only fornned excellent troops for serving the heavy guns, but were 
also employed in battalions in the fight. 

With regard to all the other active forces, we can only give 
approximate numbers j as their strength was subject to great flue- 
tuatbns according to 'circumstances. In the firet line must be 
named the moMIe Garde Naiionahy also called the Garde 
Mobile, 1M% force, according to the organization laws of the Ist 
of February 1868, ought to have amounted to 550,000 men. The 
laws of organization, however, never acquired real vital power, 
aad the number of Oardes Ifobiles who allowed themselves to be 
engaged to carry anas during the period up to the 2bd ai 
September 1870, will not be set too low at 400,000. These 
troops were formed in battalions and regiments, and also possessed 
eriillery. Of cavalry, however, they had none. 

Secondijf^ ther^ was a mobHised part af the esiablithed 
Garde Nationale^ that is to say, thq^e Oardes Nationaux employed 
^ d^taohnents. oat^ide tbeiv nativ/e plaoes, M wbo were properly 
destiaed Uat the defei^ee pf their natiye towp^ Tbese trooips were 
formed into Legions, but there were, probiiJ^y, i^t ipogce th«A 
50,000 men altogether. 


A very large proportion of the armed troops was formed, 
thirdly J by the established Garde Natianale (Garde Sidentaire^. 
Yet it is impossible to give their numbers, because thlsy appeared 
in no regular formations, and also very frequently changed their- 
character and played the part of peaceful citizens. In Paris alone, 
during the siege, the armed men of the Garde Natiooale exceeded 
300,000 men. 

In the fourth place, there were different Legions ^ some com- 
posed of natives, such as that of Colonel Charette, from the for- 
mer Papal Zouaves, and others formed of foreigners like Gari- 
baldi's. It is also impossible to give an estimate of these forces. 
Only this much can be maintained, that, when Garibaldi's Legion 
was at its strongest, and united with several bands of Francs- 
Tireurs, he had about 30,000 men under his command. 

Lastly, in the fifth place these Francs-Tireurs represented 
a means of war, which generally showed itself only in small 
bodies, but here and there also in bands of hundreds up to 
thousands. Their number is beyond all reckoning. To these the 
summons in the press referred, calling upon every one to kill one 
of the enemy whenever an opportunity offered. 

A wide field of activity was thus opened for the imagination 
of the rich as well as for the hatred of the whole people, and 
many associations, in the most wonderful costumes and with sedi- 
tious laws, joined the large masses of the poorer classes who went 
out in a more simple manner to kill. 

It is certain that not only all penniless vagrants, the prole- 
tarians of the plains and the towns, formed the nucleus of the 
Franc Tireur bands, but also many a foolish and beguiled or inti- 
midated peasant, many a young man, in misguided patriotism, also 
associated himself with these lawless, robbing and murdering hordes, 
which finally became more dangerous to the * proprietary class of 
France than the German troops. 

On the 2nd of November 1870 the delegation in Tours issued 
a decree, that all men from 20 to 40 years of age were to be 
enrolled in the army. 

What success accompanied this measure will be shown in the 


defloription of ttie fighting on the Loire, in the north and in 
the east. 

The active forces of France composed of such a varied assem- 
blage, already allowed a conclusion to be formed, as to the kind 
of warfare that would now be developed. Indeed the observer 
who investigates the war against the Imperial army, with a shudder 
on account of the enormous sacrifice of human life, whilst however 
delighting in its military grandeur, finds in the battles of the later 
period, a prevailing miserable spectacle and turns, with horror, from 
the single, bloody encounters, which spread beyond the limits of the 
battle fields, to the fields, woods, villages and upon all the roads. 

The fVar Direction of the Germans ^ remained as grand as 
before. Its hosts, now increased to 800,000 warriors, covered 
France's territory, and pressing forward without a pause, pursued 
great aims only with inexorable consistency, and without one unneces- 
sary step ; its art of war always stood as high as its policy, whose 
fixed and exalted aims it invariably served. 

But the undrilled, badly organized masses of French troops, 
almost without guidance, were no longer able to offer the spectacle 
of a scientific and tenacious struggle with the enemy, which the 
tactics of the Imperial troops had done; it is. true that they were 
often thrown upon the decisive spot by able generals, but even in 
battle, when considerably superior to the enemy in numbei's, the 
French army resembled for the most part a fiock of sheep being 
driven against the wolf. They certainly did not lack courage; 
they attacked and attacked again, but they did not understand 
making use of cover, neither did they understand how to take 
advantage of favourable chances in the fight, and the unrelenting 
sword of the practised warrior destroyed them ; they fell in great 
numbers, the rest fled, and the prisoners could scarcely be counted. 

And very frequently, the German ofBcer and soldier, through 
the frenzied warfare of the people, unacquainted with the first 
principles of war, and all the rules for ameliorating its horrors, 
were forced to have recourse to fire and the sword, whilst their 
hearts bled for the wretched sacrifice, old men, women and children, 
whose welfare, means of existence, and whose lives were devoured 
by the war. 


That the kind of war which coipme^eed from this tii^i did 
not lead to general barbarity and savagery is a proof of/ the 
h\gh powt Qf cuttivation attained by iM^th nations^ the French as 
^f3X B» the German^i, bat especially of the e4:ceUent discipline iq 
the 6eTi|ian army. 

la a loBg war even the best troops lose pore eathnaiasiD; the 
nobler feelings are blunted, war becomes a customary en^pk>ymeqt, 
and the mind is chiefly directed to material welfare. When, to 
this is added y the constant betrayal of the confidence which the 
soldier placed in the citizens and the peasantry, when the forbear- 
ance shown towards the host of his quarters is converted into a 
meaofi for his own destruction, then his good dis^sitioq is trans- 
formed into mistrust and exasperation, and he begins to impoverish 
aod ill use the population. It required all the noble elements, of 
which the German army could boast, to maintain sueh admirable 
discipline for so long a time. 

That the French government was enabled to provide these 
multitudes called up for battle, with a more or less good equip- 
ment and armament, is owing to the advantageous coast formatiiOn 
of the country, which enabled large stores to be imported from 
England and America and landed at several pointa from whevice 
they could be forwarded inland. Fraiice's manufactaries ctf 
arms alone, wo^ld have been insufficient to have incre^ed the 
existing stores to such an extent as was necessary for the jirose- 
cution of the war. It is true that Paris, no longer able to in^ct 
after the 19th of September, was chiefly furnished with home- 
made guns and rifles, or with those in possession before the war,, 
but almost everything which the country and the fleet could pro- 
duce had, also, been conveyed there. The rest of the troops, 
raised in the further course of the war, were for the most part, 
furqished with English and American arms. As early as the 17th 
of September an English newspaper, "The Daily News," brought 
precise intelligence of 400,000 rifles of the newest construction, aueh 
as Martini-Henry, Snider, Bemington and 30 millions of caxtridges, of 
which part were in the course «f construction on French commis- 
sion , ^nd part were ready, and on the point of delivery at Doyer, 
Folkestone, Newhaven and Liverpool, for the purpose of being tr^ns- 


ported to the French harbours. England, only, was concerned in 
this and it occurred as early as the 17th of September. Number- 
less supplies of rifles, revolvers and cannon followed these first 
consignments, and they were accompanied by large quantities of 
articles of equipment, such as, shoes, clothes, and leather. Horses 
were imported from Algiers. In the autumn months of 1870, the 
eqmpment of the greater part of the French troops was compara. 
tively inferior — rifles of old construction converted into muzzle 
loaders, and but little artillery; the number of detachments supplied 
with good modem rifles, was, however, always increasing, and in 
the battles which took place later in the .winter, there was by 
no means any deficiency in artillery. In cavalry the Germans 
always remained numerically superior ; yet this branch of the service 
was of less importance in the winter, than it had been in the pre- 
vious, summer, because the ground was frequently rendered imprac- 
ticable by snow and ice. It can also be easily understood that 
the other cavalry duties, patrols, reconnaissances and dispatch 
service, were much impeded by the universally organized guerilla 
warfare. In many districts, especially in the south, on the Lofare and 
at Le Mans, enemies were concealed in every thicket, and marks- 
men lurked in all the houses, who endangered single horsemen 
and small patrols; even the peasant in the field carried his gun 
and fired upon the enemy, although seeing his own destruction be- 
fore his eyes. 

The Getnnan operationSy afler the capitulation of Sedan 
had the following aims: 

The conquest of Paris was considered the most important ob- 
ject. For this end the armies of the two Crown Princes, under 
the personal direction of the King, moved straight towards this 
capital, from Sedan. 

To bring about the capitulation of Metz, and of Marshal Ba- 
zaine, was of the next importance: and for this purpose Prince 
Frederick Charles remained behind, with more than eight Army 
Corps, for the investment of both. 

Then, the whole of Alsace had to be conquered, and above 



all the fortress of Strasburg, the most important place in this 
province. This charge had been committed to General von 

Lastly, the lines of communication from Germany to Alsace 
and Lorraine, and further to the west as far as Paris, must not 
only be thoroughly secured from all attacks of the enemy, but 
freed from all obstructions, and prepared for the transport of rein- 
forcements, provisions, ammunition, and siege guns for Paris. For 
this it was important that all the fortresses between the Rhine 
and Paris should be taken, especially the fortress of Toul, which 
barred the principal railroad, and also, that all the Etappen roads 
should be strongly occupied. This duty fell chiefly to the share 
of the Landwehr, and the charge of caiiying out the most impor- 
tant operations in this radius, was especially entrusted to the 
Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, with the 17th Divisioji, to 
which other Divisions were allotted, sometimes of Landwehr, soroe- 
timea of Line, according as they were required. 

In opposition to these plans, the French government endea- 
voured, first of all, to place Paris in as perfect a state of defence 
as possible. Almost all the disposable troops, line, sailors, and 
Gardes Mobiles, were assembled here ; the heavy guns of the fleet 
were used for arming the forts; the existing fortifications were 
strengthened as much as possible, and new temporary works erected ; 
provisions were collected in enormous quantities. 

Then, new armies destined for the relief of Paris, were 
formed to the south of the Loire, and in the provinces of Artois and 
Picardy in the north, as well as in Normandy and Brittany in 
the west. 

Lastly, in Burgundy and Franche Comt^, a petty warfare 
was organized under Garibaldi's Direction, for the purpose of inter- 
rupting the communications of the German armies with their base 
of operations. The hopes of the French defensive rested upon a 
long resistance being made by Metz and Paris. So long as Metz 
held out, there was always the possibility of beating the enemy 
before Paris by overpowering numbers. Paris had to hold out 
against an army of from 300,000 to 400,000 men, until the 
aimies of relief were organized and fit for battle. 


Thus the snccessAil defence of Paris, was the final aim 
of the French defensive, just as the conquest of this city was the 
ultimate object of the German offensive. 

Afier the capitulation of Sedan^ the whole war, including 
both the battles in the field and all the siege operations, re- 
solved itself into a contest for Paris. 

As the capitulation of Metz forms the peculiar crisis of this 
long and complicated military process , the development of the im- 
portant and extensive fighting round this fortress until -its fall, will 
be given first, in the following narration ; whilst the closing event, 
and the consequences resulting from the capitulation, will appear 
in their corresponding places in the war round Paris. 

An account will then follow of the contests around the lines 
of communication, as well as those for the possession of Alsace 
and Lorraine, especially the conquest of Strasburg; then the siege 
of Paris at its different periods, the capitulation of Paris, and the 
attempts made for its relief. 

The description of the siege of Belfort, and General von Werder's 
conflicts with the French eastern army, as well as* the fall of Bel- 
fort, will form the conclusion. 


Thb Investment of Metz. 

Marshal Bazaine had hardly withdrawn his army after the 
murderous battle of Gravelotte, under the secure shelter of the 
forts of Plappeville and St. Quentin; scarcely had he begun to 
restore order to the thinned and shaken masses, when the bayonets 
of the German outposts, already, appeared upon the heights on 
the left bank ^of the Moselle, which he had vainly endeawnred to 
defend on the 18th of August, and along the whole length of the 
hilly horizon as far as the eye could reach, whilst the muzzles of 
German cannon were turned threateningly down upon the conquered 
army, from the d^bouchds and the plateaux. 

The Marshal pushed forward his reconnaissances towards his 
opponents across the Moselle, in an easterly direction, to Mercy-le< 
Haut and Noisseville, where he had previously fought on the 14th, 
and searched the country along the course of the river to the north 
and south. Everywhere his patrols came upon the enemy. Every- 
where the same spectacle. A circle of observation posts, composed 
of foot and horse, surrounded the whole of the great fortress with 
its outer forts, in a close line; behind these, the outposts were 
encamped in small thickets, in folds of the ground, and in deserted 
buildings which had been loopholed ; and in a third line pick-axes 
and shovels were at work strengthening the line of supports and 
securing them against an attack. Batteries were erected, trees 
were cut down at the edges of the woods to form barricades, in 
open plaqes entrenchments were thrown up, the adjacent villages 
were transformed into fortresses, and each single wall and 

^^^amr'^mam/v't-^ ■ • 



building was prepared for defence. The railroad to Thionyille 
had been destroyed, and the bridges over the Ome broken up. 

The consequences of the Marshal's dilatory, undecided gene- 
ralship, now stood clear and terrible before his eyes. He was 
enclosed in the fortress with his whole Army, In the ' early 
morning of the 19th of August, he had, at first, in all silence 
withdrawn his corps into a curved line, which still encompassed 
the heights of Plappeville and St. Quentin, and extended from 
LiOngeville by Sey and Lessy to Lorry, Goupillon, and finally, on 
the right flank, as far as the front of the Moselle fort. On the 
20th, these lines were still more contracted ; the Garde was drawn 
back to the eastern slope of St. Quentin, the 4th Corps to Tigno- 
mont, and the 3rd Corps placed in rear of the forts of Si 
Quentin and Plappeville. The 6th Corps remained in the Valley 
in front of the Moselle fort, the 2nd at Longeville. On the 22iid 
three Divisions of the 3rd Corps moved on to the right bank, and 
the fourth Division soon after; and upon this bank entrenched 
works were commenced between the forts of St. Julien and 
Queulen, similar to those which had already been set on foot on 
the left bank. For the Marshal now considered it of great impor- 
tance to fortify his position against attacks by the Germans, until 
an opportunity presented itself of breaking through. This in any 
case, was very difficult to accomplifiA. 

On the west side, which was Bazaine's natural line of| retreat, 
a break through was quite impracticable^ Here, the country was 
most unfavourable, hills stood in his front lik^ a wall. To march 
down the valley towards ThionvUle, was likewise hardly feasible, 
because an aimy on the march could be reached and destroyed by 
a flank fire from the heights on both banks of the river. In the 
same way towards the south-east, the ground formed obstacles to a 
break through. The only possibility of escape was towards the 
north-east Here the even undulations of the country, on a tole- 
rably extended scale from the river to Colombey, would allow the 
development of the army with a wider front, and although hi 
this direction the departure would lead towards Laxemburg insteaid 
of into the interior of France, yet the acquisition of the plateau 
of Ste. Barbe would be a first and most importanl step towards 


their deliverance, which could be followed np by further opera- 
tions against the flanks of the investing army. Was this ma< 
noeuvre, however , practicable? What wa» the strength of the 
investing army? 

As yet Bazaine was not completely isolated, he succeeded in 
getting single messengers through the Qerman lines, who conveyed 
reports to the Emperor and brought back news, and in the same 
wavering manner, with the same absence of self confidence, that 
he had previously exhibited in the guidance of the army, the 
Marshal depended upon deliverance from without, instead of trust- 
ing to himself alone, and to the capabilities of his own army. 

^^The Emperor was endeavouring to send him help; Mac 
Mahon was on the march to his relief with a new army. The 
German Armies too, must take precautions against Mac Mahon's 
Army; it was impos^Ue that all their forces could be united 
round Metz. An energetic sortie, carried out in combination with 
Mac Mahon's attack from outside, must make a way of escape 
from this terrible situation." 

On the 19th of August, Bazaine informed the Emperor: 
"The Army is formed upon the left bank of the Moselle from 
Longeville to Sansonnet and describes a curved line, passing 
through the heights of Ban St. Martin in rear of the Forts St. 
Quentin and Plappeville. The troops are fatigued by the inces- 
sant fighting which has not allowed them two or three days rest 
to supply to some extent, their material wants. The King of 
Prussia was in Rezonville to-day with Moltke, and every thing 
indicates that the Prussians will enclose Metz. I still intend to 
get away towards the north, to MontmMy, upon the St. M^n^ould 
and Chalons road, if it is not too strongly occupied. In this case 
I shall turn towards Sedan and even towards M^zieres in order 
to reach Gh§,lons." 

On the 20th of August he informed the Emperor: 

"My troops still hold the same positions. The enemy appears 
to be erecting batteries, which are to be points of appui for the. 
blockade. He is constantiy receiving reinforcements. In Metz we 
have more than 16,000 wounded.'^ 

On the 22nd of August he informed the Minister of war : 


''We are in Metz, we have provisions and ammunition. The 
enemy is continually accumulating more troops, and it appears to 
be his intention to enclose us. I have written to the Emperor 
who will have imparted to you my dispatch. I have received Mac 
Mahon's dispatch, and told him in reply what I hope to do in a 
few days." 

This last message probably referred to Mac Mahon*s informa- 
tion about the famous flank march, which came to an end at 
Sedan, and in consequence of which measures wei^ commenced, 
after some days, to lend a helping hand to an attempt at relief, 
by the army advancing from Ch&lons. 

Then, on the evening of the 25th of August, the Marshal 
first issued orders, with the object of a sortie upon a grand 
scale. These are worthy of notice, because, with some modifica- 
tions, they were given out, »t a later period for the battle which 
took place at Noisseville. They read thus: 

''The 3rd Corps will leave one Di^sion at Metz, which will 
take up a position towards Grigy, in front of Queulen. The 
three other Divisions, with the cavalry and artillery, will direct 
their march upon Noisseville, whilst keeping back their right wing, 
which will rest upon the road to Saarlouis; their left wing will 
come up to the Mey wood, upon the hill between Mey and 
Nouilly. The 4th Corps will place itself 1800 metres (iVs English 
miles) in front of Grimont, perpendicular to the road to Ste. 
Barbe, the right wing near the Mey wood, in eonnection with the 
3rd Corps, the left wing 1200 metres (^/i English miles) f^om 
Villers TOrme, and the Cavalry pushed forward. The Corps will cross 
by the bridge above Chambi^re. The 6th Corps *will take up a 
position in front of the Grimont wood behind Villers rOiine, the 

right wing at equal height with the left wing of the 4th Corps, 


the left wing as far as the 216th mile stone, drawn back on the 
left of the Bouzonville road, and the cavalry in front of the bridge 
below Chambi^re. The 2nd Corps, will form a second line in 
rear of the 3rd Corps, with its right wing resting on the farm 
Belle-Croix, and its left on the heights upon the right side of the 
Vantoux ravine; it will take the road to Saarlouis, marching off 
through the Porte de France «nd then through the Porte des 


Allemands. The cavalry Divisions of the 3rd and 2nd Corps, 
will place themselves upon the right flanks of their respective 
CorpSy for employment as ^claireurs. The reserve Artillery and 
the companies of Engineers will follow their Corps , and place 
themselves in rear of the second bodies of each. The Garde, the 
reserve Cavalry and the Artillery of the Army Reserve, will take 
up a position between Fort St. Julien and the Grimont wood, a 
cheval of the road to Bouzonville, the left wing in rear of Gha> 
tillon, and the right wing directed towards the 2nd Corps, They will 
pass over the Chamhi^re bridges after the 4th and 6th Corps, 
probably at 7.30 o'clock a.m. The head-quarters will be in the 
village of St. Julien. The whole of the Train and baggage will 
move towards Chambi^re. 

The 6th Corps, will leave behind, in its lines, one infantry 
and one cavalry regiment, the 2nd Corps likewise, the 4th Corps 
one infantry regiment only, and the 3rd Corps one battalion at Mon- 
tigny. These troops will show themselves as much as possible, 
and the cavalry will reconnoitre to the front. 

The tendency of these arrangements was in short. '^ The 
offensive of all the Corps massed together to the north-east, in 
the direction of Ste, Bat^e and Malroy-Charlyy for the pur^ 
pose of opening the roads to Tkionville, lying nearest to the 
Moselle, whilst demonstrations were made towards the east 
and west. 

On the morning of the 26th, the execution of the movements 
conmianded began, but met with several hindrances. The weather 
was cold and rainy from the commencement, so that the roads 
became heavy, and both meoi and horses suffered; then, of the two 
bridges newly built by the artillery, it was found that only one 
was serviceable for the transit of waggons, which caused con- 
siderable delay. Lastly, a violent storm with gales and toiTents 
of rain came on, whilst the positions in front of St. Julien were 
being taken up in sgite of it. 

Under these difficult circumstances, Bazaine, considering his 
plan impracticable, assembled a council of war in the farm Gri- 
mont, and then commanded that the troops should again take up 
their original positions. The advanced troops had come into 


ooDtact with the German eutpostB ; slight skirmishes had taken place, 
and all the German Corps upon the right bank of the Moselle 
had developed, in expectation of a battle —but the French did 
not attack; they returned to their old positions and remained 

At the council of war held in the famiy Grimontj a con- 
sultation took place, (according to Bazaine's testimony,) not only 
upon tlie momentary situation of the army, but also upon the 
direction of affairs for tlie future. He arrived at the conclu- 
sion that it would be to the advantage of France, if the army 
remained, provisionally, in Metz. By that means 200^000 of the 
enemy were, at once, detained before Metz, and France gained 
time to organize further resistance; the fortress of Metz also re- 
quired the army, in order to be able to defend herself; without 
the protection of tlie army, Metz would be unable to hold out for 
fourteen days. 

Allowing that these assertions are correct, that council of war 
must, surely, have been obliged to acknowledge that the above 
named, beneficial results for the further resistance of France, 
would have been attained in a far higher degree by making a 
successful sortie, and conquering the Army of Investment, and as 
the investing army was rightly computed at. 200,000 men, the 
question may, perhaps, be raised: Was the relative strength of 
the opposing armies such, that the French council of war was, 
already, obliged to forego the idea of victory? 

The Army of Investment y under the Chief Command of 
Prince Frederick Charles, consisted of the First Army under the 
command of General von Steinmetz, viz. the I., VII. and VIII. 
Corps, besides the II., III., IX. and X. Corps of the Second Army, 
the 1st and 3rd Cavalry Divisions, and lastly Eummer*s Reserve 
Division, with the 3rd Reserve Cavalry Brigade. 

Altogether, eight- and -a- half Army Corps, and two-and-a-half 
Cavalry Divisions. 

After the losses in the previous battles, which, in August, 
had not as yet been replaced (the reinforcements for the regiments 
only began to arrive in the middle of September), the strength of 
this Army, at most, was 200,000 men, 


The French Army on the other hand, numbered 135,000 

The German Corps stood in acircaitof about7miles (3 2^/5 Eng- 
lish miles) round Metz, distributed upon both banks of the river, 
whilst the French Corps were united. Although on the German 
side numerous bridges had been laid over the river, and above 
all, no measures had been neglected which would facilitate rapid 
communication and mutual support of the Corps, yet the cir- 
cumstance of their extent allowed the possibility of an attack being 
made from Metz against some part of th^ investment, with supe- 
riority in numbers, for many hours, over the opposing forces; so 
that by a skilful use of the advantages gained at the beginning, 
with a due reinforcement by reserves, the German line of de- 
fence might have been completely broken through, and even 
danger to the German flanks was not beyond the reach of pos- 

In fact the German Army was none too strong for its under- 

It is possible that the German Direction had estimated the 
French Army at 30,000 to 40,000 men below its actual strength, 
and for this reason a greater number of troops had not been left; 
behind for the investment. This low estimate may have been 
caused by ignorance as to the presence of Lapa«set's Brigade, 
of the 5th Corps, and especially by estimating the French losses 
too high. 

*) According to the official accounts of the capitulation of Metss, 
which reckon the prisoners of war at 173,000, the strength should he set 
down as still higher; yet these estimates which are prohahly made out 
from the maintenance states, may also include the Garde Sedentaire etc., 
and thus do not show the comhatants of the regular Army only. A good 
authority (Notes to the translation of <Hhe war round Metz hy a Prussian 
General," by a Staff Officer of the Rhine Army, — which are ascribed 
to Marshal Bazaine, himself) gives the strength of the French Army on the 
14th of August at 168,000 men and 540 cannon, including 84 mitrailleuses, 
and the loss of the three battles on the 14th, 16th and 18th of August at 
32,817 men, among whom were 1642 officers. The French authority 
also reckons those upon t|ie mainteaance states. 


Public opinion in Germany, the press, which drew its 
information from the army, always estimated the invested army, 
at that time, at fi*om 80 — 100,000 men, and indeed still lower. 
(The Prussian '^Staatsauzeiger'* , expressed astonishment, in the 
beginning of October, at the inactivity of Marshal Bazaine, who, 
even at the moment of the blockade, had an army of 80,000 
men under his command.) 

It is, however, also possible, that the strength of Bazaine*s 
Army was not underrated by the German Army Dii*ection, and 
yet the investmg army could not be strengthened, or this would 
have been done. By so doing the Third and Fourth Armies would 
have been weakened. Besides, dispositions had been made for the 
dispatch of troops to replace casualties, and for the concentration 
of a new Army Corpsy on the Seille, under the command of the 
Grand Duke of Mecklenburg -Schwerin] these reinforcements 
could not, however, arrive until the beginning and middle of 

Thus, in regard to the numerical strength of the opponents, 
Bazaine's prospects of breaking through were not, originally, so 
very unfavourable, although the country, doubtless, was very dif- 
ficult, and on the north-east side only, would allow of a proper 

The opinion of the council of war, upon the power of resist- 
ance of the fortress of Metz, is very surprising. It was always 
considered the strongest place in France, and was the principal 
depdt of the French Army; it had been rebuilt according to the 
latest principles in the art of fortification, surrounded with strong 
outer forts, and was naturally very favourably situated. But it 
has been proved without doubt, that as late as the 14th of 
August, the fortress was not in a condition capable of defence; 
that the forts were unarmed, and not. completely finished in the 
interior. In the battle of Courcelles, single detachments of the 
German advanced troops, pressed forward, unhindered, up to the 
glacis of the forts. 

It was besides decided, in the council of war, to establish 
partisan detachments both in the cavalry and the infantry, for 



the purpose of fatiguing the enemy by coups de main and, at 
the same time, of raising tlie moral element of their own army. 

On the 30th of August, the prospect of a successful attempt 
to break through appeared to be approaching. A messenger, who 
had been sent by Bazaine to the Emperor, returned with the fol- 
lowing information: 

''Your dispatch of the 19th, received in Rheims. I am moving 
iit the direction of Montm^dy; the day after tomorrow I shall 
have passed the Aisne, and then, acting according to circumstances, 
will come to your assistance." 

Until now nothing had been lost. On the contrary, by sparing 
the army since the battle of Gravelotte, it had regained the soli- 
dity necessary for a powerful offensive. To undertake the attack 
Upon the investment^ in connection with Mac Mahon, offered the 
most favourable chances. 

Bazaine undertook this attack. 


On the 31st of August and 1st of September. 

If, even previously, under normal conditions, an offensive 
attack from Metz had not been entirely without prospect of suc- 
cess, Mac Mahon's march towards the Meuse, in the last days of 
August, produced circumstances, which now gave a very favourable 
turn of affairs for Bazaine. 

In order to oppose the probable attack of the Army of 
Chalons, in case the Third and Fourth Armies had not succeeded 
in stopping it, the Army of Investment had taken up a position, 
during the last days of August, which left but a comparatively 
small force for the investment proper, whilst strong masses were 
pushed forward to the north-west of Metz, in the direction of 
Montm^dy and Longwy, as far as the line Verdun-Thionville, and 

On the evening of the 30th of August, the Head-Quartei*s of 
the Army were in Malancourt 



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hJirt^me-Meterre etc. 


The Army was disposed in the following manner: 

The 25th (Hessian) Division 'stood beyond Pierrevillers , 
2 miles (9^/5 English miles) from Metz; the 18th Divisioii and 
the Artillery Corps of the IX. Corps beyond Roncourt^ at the 
same distance. 

The II. Corps was detached for observation towards Aumetz 
and Longuyon^ about 5 miles (27^/5 English miles) to the north- 
west of Metz. 

The lU. Corps was at Doncourt and Coflnans, 2^/3 miles to 
the west of Metz. 

The X. Corps was in reserve, in rear of the IX. Corps, in 
the neighbourhood of Marange. On the jother hand, only the fol- 
lowing divisions stood in the neighbourhood of Metz: 

Rummer's Division in rear of the line Malroy — Charly, • 1 
mile (43/5 English miles) north of Metz. 

The Ist Infantry Division, in and behind the line Failly- 
Servigny-Noisseville, at the same distance to the north-east of the 

Joining the left flank of these, the 2nd Infantry Division stood 
ft'om Ars-Laquenexy as far as Mercy-le-Haut, which was occupied 
by the advanced Iroops. 

The YU. Corps, a cheval of the Moselle, held the southern 
part of the line of investment 

The occupation of the whole of the westeiii part, the left 
bank of the Moselle, devolved on the VUI. Corps, 

Accordingly the tract of country most endangered, was the 
most favourable for Bazaine, from Malroy to Flanville, a line ^/^ 
of a mile (3^/3 English miles)' in length, and was occupied by 
only three Divisions, that is to say by barely 30,000 men; the 
other parts of the investment line were still more * weakly oc- 

It is uncertain, whether Bazaine possessed accurate informa- 
tion as to the situation of affairs. At all events, his attack on 
the 31st of August was attempted at the right spot, namely where 
the country was favourable, and where there was a prospect of 
escaping to the north. 

The weather improved on the 29th, after the rain had poured 


down^ unceasingly, on the 27th and 28th. In the mean time the 
2nd Corps had been directed to Montigny, and had extended be- 
tween the Moselle and Le Sablon, whilst Marshal Leboeof took up 
a position with the right wing of his Corps resting upon the 

On the morning of the 30th of August, the Corps Comman. 
dants who, for two days, had been in communication by telegraph 
with the head-quarters, were informed that an operation might 
possibly, be carried oul at 1 o'clock p.m. The issue of two days 
rations of biscuit and bacon, was ordered to be set on foot at 
once. These orders, with little secrecy, were widely promulgated 
in the corps, so that in a short time they were known throughout 
the whole camp and town. Towards 10 o'clock, however, it was 
communicated that the intended operations would be postponed, 
and finally, in the evening, dispositions were issued, similar to 
those for the 25th of August, but with the following modifi- 
cations : 

'*The 3rd Corps will commence its movement at an early 
hour; its 3rd Division will remain in Metz. The 4th Corps will 
reach the Moselle at 6 o'clock, at the latest, and cross it by the 
three bridges simultaneously. The 6th Corps will, as anticipated, 
begin the passage at 7.15 o'clock, the Garde at 8.30 o'clock, the 
Artillery of the Army Reserve at 9.15 o'clock, and the reserve 
Artillery at 10 o'clock." 

Accordingly the passage of the 3rd Corps (Garde, 4th and 
6th) which were upon the left bank, was begun at 6 o'clock, on 
the morning of the 31st of August, by the three Moselle bridges, 
and the movement was completed at 5 o'clock in the evening. 
The Artillery of the Army Reserve, which, for some days past 
had been placed under the command of General Bourbaki, did 
not reach the plateau until 6 o'clock; the only troops which ar- 
rived after it was General Desveaux's Cavalry Corps, which had 
been foimed on the 25th of August, from the Cavalry Division of 
the Garde, and from General Forton's reserve Cavalry Division; 
its strength was ten regiments. 

It appears astounding and to have been a fanl^, that the 
artillery of the Army Reserve was not moved across in front of 


the other Corps, whilst, jnst at the commenceinent, a sufficient 
artillery could not be employed in the German positions opposite* 
In other respects the concentration of the army b^an at the 
right time. As early as 7.30 o'clock, the German outposts of the 
1st Division, observed great masses of the enemy, forming up in 
position near the Forts St. Julien and Bell^-Croix, with artillery 
in their front; at the same .time the outposts of Rummer's Divi- 
sion discovered columns of the enemy, which were estimated at the 
strength of a Division; clouds of dust in the background, led to 
the conclusion that sti'oug reserves were coming up. 

The situation was a very hazardous one^ for the Army 
of Investment 

At 8 o'clock in the morning, LeboBuf^s troops occupied the 
positions assigned to them, namely three Infanti'y Divisions and 
the Cavalry opposite Noissevilky the right wing tlirown back 
upon the Saarlouis road, and the left wing upon the hill between 
Nouilly and Mey. The 2nd Corps stood behind the 3rd, with 
the right wing near the farm Belle-Croix, and the left upon the 
hill of Valli^res. 

Within about an hour, the attack of the French might take 
place with a force of at least, 40,000 men. The German troops 
in the first line were insufficient to repulse them, and in all pro- 
bability, would have to give up their first positions. Reinforce- 
ments for Kummer's Division and the 1st. Corps could only arrive 
by degrees, after several hours, and indeed, owing to the provi- 
sional state of aflPairs, from the north side only; on the east and 
west the investment could not be slackened, because it was not 
known upon which side the attack Was directed, nor whether 
the development towards the north wan anything more than a de- 

Had the French 3rd and 2nd Corps been able to obtain rein- 
forcements only quite gradually, yet at the same time uninterrupt- 
edly, and the sortie, even in the afternoon, been able take the form 
of a veritable break through of . the whole Army, Bazaine's plan, 
of having all his Corps upon the right bank before attacking, may, 
certainly, be defended. 

But the whole development lasted much too long, and the 


morning and midday were spent in demonstrationB ^ whilst the 
Germans could qnietly take precautions to meet the attack. 

At the commencement, the French sortie appeared to be e$pe- 
cially directed towards the east. The columns, observed to the 
south of Fort St. Jnlien, Lapassefs Brigade, suddenly broke for- 
ward against the German 2nd Division, and at 9 o*clock in the 
morning, were already in possession of Colombey. 

Before 8 o'clock, on the first reports of the movements of 
the enemy, General von Manteuffel had made the following dis- 
positions : 

"Ist) The 3rd Infantry Brigade of the 2nd Division, with 
two batteries, will move to the SaarbrUcken road, in line 
with Puche. 

2nd) The Ist Cavalry Brigade of the 3rd Cavalry Divi- 
sion will march towards Retonfay, for the purpose of cover- 
ing the country between the SaarbrUcken and Saarlouis roads. 
(The whole of the 3rd Cavalry Division aiTived there, by 
order of General von Steinmetz.) 

3rd) One Cavalry Regiment and one Battery of Kummer's 
Division will move towards Ste. Barbe. 

At the same time, a notification was sent to the Prince Com- 
mander in Chief and to the General von Steinmetz. 

Prince Frederick Charles, having in view the possibility of 
an attack by the ChUlons Anny, would not give up his position 
against Montm^y, but commanded all the Corps, at a distance 
from Metz, to concentrate nearer to the fortress. 

General von Voigts-Rhetz immediately made the disposable 
portion of the X. Corps move back, by the bridge laid over the 
Moselle at Hauconcourt, to the right bank, in conformity with 
the arrangements, previously made by the Prince, for such a 
case; the following orders were, besides, issued from the head- 
quarters at Malanconrt, in view of the above named general dis- 
position. ^ 

To General von Manstein, to concentrate the 25th Hessian Divi- 
sion at Pierrevillers, the 18th Infantry Division and the Artillery 
Corps at Roncourt, at 8.30 o'clock a.m: 


To General von Fransecky, to concentrate the II. Anny Corps, 
at 9.30 o'clock a.m. between Briey and Anbou^. 

To General von Alvensleben XL, to march off, at 9.30 o'clock 
a.m., with the III. Army Gor4>s, from Doncourt and Conflans, upon 
St Privat. 

The Prince Commander ixt Chief i*epaired to the hill le Hon- 
mont, north of Ffeves, from whence a wide survey of the whole 
valley of the Moselle, and of the fighting ground, could be ob- 
tained; he arrived there at 11 o'clock a.m. 

The French, as mentioned, had been successful in their first 
attack, directed against Colombey, It was very soon evident that 
the security of the right flank and, at the same time, a demon- 
stration, were the only objects at this point; for no very ener- 
getic attack was made upon the line Aubigny — Meix5y-le-Haut, and 
after a long, stationary fight, there was a pause, which lasted 
until 5 o'clock p.m. 

The state of the fight appeared to threaten so little danger 
here, that Major General von Pritzelwitz, who was bringing his 
Brigade (the 28th) from Pouilly to support the 2nd Division, 
allowed his men, quietly, t-o warm up their dinners at Courcelles. 
The cooking began at 3.30 o'clock, but was not finished, for the 
attack was renewed upon Aubigny soon after. 

Bazaine was quke right to be satisfied here with the posses- 
sion of Colombey, for he had chosen the plateau of Ste^ Barbe 
as the object of the principal attack. It was now expected that 
an energetic, powerfully supported, assault would be made there. 

Still, however, it did not come to this; nothing was under- 
taken upon the left wing but unimportant demonstrations along the 

At 10.30 o'clock, a single cavalry regiment and a single 
battery advanced against the position M air oy- Char hfy and General 
von Kummer was able to drive away this detachment with some 
shots fh)m his rifled guns. Neither can the fire of Fort St. Julien, 
which now began, be considered as an efficient preparation for 
the attack at this point, for the heavy shot, thrown at intervals, 
inflicted no losses whatever on General von Kummer's troops. 



By thiB long introduction of the attack, the Germans gained 
time for new counter measures. As the main body of the French 
Army, near Forts' St. Jnlien and Belle-Oroix, was constantly growing 
stronger, and, on tlie whole, it might well be assumed that Bazaine 
intended to move for\}^ard against the Plateau of Ste, Barbe, the 
3rd Infantry Brigade was formed up at Retonfay and Senden's 
Landwehr Division at Ste. Barbe. The detachments, appointed to 
reinforce the X. and IX. Army Corps, were also by this time 
approdching considerably nearer to the scene of the impending 
battle. The head of the 25th Division after marching by Hau- 
concourt and crossing the Moselle had arrived, at 2,30 o'clock 
p. m. , at Antilly, immediately in rear of the line Malroy — Charly. 
Nevertheless, at 4 o'clock, when the attack on the French side 
really began, the chances were still very much in Bazaine's favour. 
Three of the enemy's Corps were still absorbed in watching for the 
Army of Chalons, and, within the next twelve houre, it was im- 
possible that more than 60,000 Germany, at the most, could be 
concentrated between Malroy and Flanville, if a skilful demonstration 
was made towards the south, during the break through, for the 
purpose of engaging the German VII. Corps. These 60,000 men, 
moreover, could only be brought together by degrees; for the 
next few hours, there were only from 30,000 to 40,000 men 

The French attack, consequently, began at 4 o'clock p. m., 
after the considerable forces, which had come up on the right bank, 
had passed some hours in making coffee. 

The 4th Corps had taken up its position perpendicular to the 
Ste. Barbe road, the 6th Corps prolonged this line, with the left 
wing upon the road to Bouzonville. The Garde, tlie Army Reserve 
Artillery, and the Cavalry Corps were coming up between Fort 
St. Julien and the Grimont wood, the left wing behind Chatillon. 

The Corps, forming the first line, stood from the right to the 
left wing thus : the 3rd, the 4th and the 6th. These would have 
to commence the attack. 

Towards 2 o'clock. Marshal Bazaine had gone forward upon 
the road to Ste. Barbe, and on the left of this road (in line with 
the 261st mile stone) he had caused a breast -work to be erected 


for a battery, for the support and introduction of the projected 
attack upon the line Servigny-Failly. At 4 o'clock, six 12-pounder8 
fi'om the Reserve of the 4th Corps were placed behind this breast- 
work, and another battery from the same reserve, was posted on 
the right of the road, opposite Poix. In addition to these, three short 
24-pounderB were taken out of Fort St. Julien, in order to be 
placed in position, on the right of the road, in front of the farm 

The fire from these batteries, which began at 4 o'clock, was, 
however, not sufficient to silence the German batteries posted 
opposite. On the contrary, these very soon gained the ascendency, 
and made the French very sensible of the want of their remaining 
reserve artillery. Nevei*theless, the French attacking columns went 
forward with energy. Metman's Division was directed against 
ISoniUy, Montaudon's Division, supported by Fauvart-BastouPs Divi- 
sion, attacked Noisseville and, with one Brigade on the right, also 
attacked Montoy and Flanville. 

The right intention lay at the foundation of tliese movements; 
which was to take the commanding position of Ste. Barbe, whilst 
the enemy was engaged in the centre, and his left flank surrounded 
by Retonfay. 

In spite of the strong artillery fire from the German positions, 
in which, at 5 o'clock, all the batteries of the I. Corps took part, 
Leb(£ufs Corps succeeded in advancing from Nouilly, against 
Noissevilhy in throwing back the German troops upon Servigny^ 
in establishing itself in and round Noisseville, in taking the batteries 
in rear, which were in position before Servigny, by the fire of 
skirmishers, and forcing them to drive off; and then in bringing a 
number of batteries into position,, which vigorously bombarded 
Servigny. Coincy was occupied, at the same time, by General 
Lapasset from Colombey. It was now 6.30 o'clock. 

With this, however, the good conduct of the sortie, again came 
to an end. Instead of sending sufficient reserves after the divisions 
which had g^e forward so successfully, which Bazaine was quite 
able to do, he left the first line, for a time, entirely to itself; the 
4th and 6th Corps waited Cor a further progress to be made 
by the 3rd before they attacked on their side; the 3rd Corps was 

14 * 


not supported by the 2nd^ and' hardly advanced at all — the 
attack was paralyzed and oame completely to a stand. At dark, 
however, Memerty's Prnssian Brigade succeeded in re-taking Noisse- 
ville. j4td 0^ clock in the evening the most important positions were 
again in possession of the GermanSy and the fight was considered 
at an end. The German troops in the first line were, indeed, 
kept under arms for the night and the Landwehr, from Ste. Barbe, 
were drawn nearer; but the 2nd Infantry Brigade with the 
Artillery Corps, were moved back into bivouac. 

Then, suddenly, at 10 o'clock at night, a fresh attack ensued, 
upon the whole line, with the greatest vehemence. Whether this 
was conducted by Bazaine's arrangement, and in consequence of a 
premeditated plan, or through accidental circumstances, has not 
been made clear. According to a good French authority*), the 
impulse which led to it, proceeded from General Changarnier in 
an hour of general irresolution. Sti'ong French masses went for- 
ward from Leboeufs Corps, upon the Saarbriicken road, then 
turning to the noii;h, attacked Fianvilie and took the village with 
the bayonet, after an obstinate defence. 

From here they turned towards Retonfay and Noisseville, and 
forced the German troops to retire as far as Chateau Gras, upon 
the plateau of Ste. Barbe. 

At the same time General Ladmirault had gone forward, 
with Cissey's Division, on the right of the road to Ste. Barbe, 
Grenier's Division on the leflr of it, and Lorencez's Division in the 
second body, and a concentrated attack by surprise was made upon 
Servignj/y which was carried out partly by Metman's Division and 
partly by the troops of the 4th Corps, Cissey's Division. The 
French succeeded in getting possession of the greatest part of the 
village. Grenier's Division and General Cissey's 2nd Brigade, directed 
their attack upon Poix, to the north-west of Servigny, and upon 
Failly, but with only partial success, as this night action was, in 
general, conducted without steadiness on the French side, and 
without lasting force. Servigny was very soon rettaken by the 
Germans, and the only positions maintained by the French, were 


•) Journal d'un officier de I'arm^e du Rhin. Bruxelles, C. Muquardt. 


NoiBseville, Goincy, Flanville and the country round these villages. 
Upon the left wing of the French line of battle, Marshal Canrobert 
had taken possession of ChieuUes and Vany with his partisan- 
companies; General Tlxier was established on the right, General 
Lafont de Villiers on the left, and General Levassor - Sorval in 
reserve, and cavalry fronted the d^bouch^ from Malroy. 

The retreating movement of the 4th and drd Corps, which 
soon followed, obliged Canrobert likewise to I'etire. 

The battle was concluded for this day^ and the result of 
the ^\st of August wAs, that the French Arfny — after having 
been in possession of the most important positions ^ and, in a 
tactical point of view, had been able to carry out its break- 
through — was turned back, into nearly the same situation which 
it had been in be/ore the attack, from the want of reserves 
being brought up in time. 

Once in the course * of the afternoon , when Colombey and 
Noisseville were taken and Servigny strongly thi'eatened, and 
again towards 11 o'clock p. m., when even Flanville and Noisseville 
had been taken, and a concentric attack could have been made 
upon Failly, the French attacking front was so extended, that 
nothing but the want of will on the part of the Generals, stood in 
the way of bringing up sti'ong reserves. 

General Ladmirault had not, as yet, exhausted his reserves, 
the 6th Corps had hardly been engaged, tli^ Garde and 2nd Corps 
were still completely intact; the numerous cavalry, which could 
act under favourable circumstances against the roads to Saarlouis 
and Saarbrttcken, by which they could threaten to surround the 
enemy or attack the foe posted at Retonfay, had not yet taken 
any serious part in the combat, with the exception of the fight at 

The difficulties connected with the development of large masses 
from narrow defiles, cannot well . be mentioned, after the first body 
had already placed itself in possession of villages and other positions, 
extending over a mile of front (4^5 English miles). 

But, how little Marshal Bazaine had the intention of pursuing 
a plan to break through at any price, is at once proved by his 


leaving the battle-field, at 9 o'clock in the evening, before the 
last attack, and returning to St. Julien. 

Bazaine was kept back by the fear of being destroyed 
by the pursuing German Army^ even after a successful break 

Although, however, the favourable moment had been lost on 
the 3lBt of August, and the only advantage that can be mentioned 
as remaining to the French, was the occupation of the villages of 
Coincy, Flanville and especially Noisseville, the attempt to break 
through was repeated, on the 1st. of September, and naturally, 
under far more difficult circumstances, and with far less prospect 
of success. 

The German Army ^^iood in readiness, on the 1st of September, 
in the following order: 

Kummer's Division and the I. Army Corps, in the first line, 
upon the battlefields of the previous night; in the second line, 
at Antilly, and on the march to Charly, the 2dth and 18th 
Divisions (the latter had been marching all through the night), so 
that the whole of the IX. Army Corps was now ready for the 
fight upon the right bank of the Moselle. 

The VII. and VIII. Army Corps , as on the previous day ; 
the n., in. and X. Corps, upon the left bank of the Moselle, to- 
wards Montm^dy; the first two however were only l^/a miles 
(6®/io English) from Metz, and the last were immediately on 
the river, so that it would be possible for them to engage in the 
fight of the investing army within some hours. 

The French dispositions for this day, again indicated an 
assault upon Ste. Barbe, but this was already restricted, by the 
command to rest satisfied with maintaining the positions of the 
3 1st of August, until the evening, in case the enemy had been 

The fight began at 4 o'clock a. m. on the German side, by 
the 3rd Infantry Brigade endeavouring to re-conquer the village 
of Noisseville, which had been wrested from it. 

The morning was very misty, so- that only the tops of the 
hills could be distinguished; in the valley, however, only the 
objects near at hand were visible. 


The first attack of the Germans upon the village, occupied 
by Glinchant's Brigade and the 32nd Line Regiment, failed; the 
French held the village and even proceeded to make sorties. 

General von Manteuffel brought up the 2nd Infantry Brigade, 
and begged for assistance from General von Manstein, who support- 
ed him by sending at first, the 1st Hessian Infantry Brigade, the 
Artillery Corps of the IX. Corps, and the Hessian Cavalry Brigade; 
and later, after the 18th Infantry Division had arrived in rear 
of Kummer's Division, the 2nd Hessian Infantry Brigade. 

As soon as the Hessians were on the march to Ste. Barbe, 
the second attack upon Noisseville was attempted by the 2nd 
Infantry Brigade. It succeeded, with very heavy losses, in 
taking the outskirts and part of the village, but the French brought 
fresh troops into the fight, and also several mitrailleuses, and 
again drove the Germans out. Three times the outskirts were 
taken and again lost, until at last. General von Manteuffel desisted 
from the offensive, withdrew his troops, and contented himself with 
opposing the further progress of the enemy. 

It was now 8 o'clock a. m. 

In the meanwhile, the announcement of the re-commencement 
of the battle had reached Prince Frederick Charles at Malancourt, 
to which place he had ridden back, from the hill at F^ves, on 
the previous evening. 

Here, in the head-quarters of the Army, between 7 and 8 
o'clock, the fire of cannon was now audible in the direction of 
Montm^dy, as to the signification of which, conjectures only could 
be formed. It was the thunder of the action raging round 
Bazeilles, 12 miles (55 V5 English) off, the commencement of the 
battle of Sedan. Soon however the hot engagement on the right 
bank of the Moselle, drowned the dull. roar in the distance. 

The Prince commanded Lieutenant General von Alvensleben 
to send an Infantry Division, strengthened by Artillery, towards 
Maizi^res-lies-Metz, made a part of the X. Army Corps move back 
upon the right bank of the Moselle, and shortly after 8 o'clock, 
he again took up his point of observation of the previous day. 

As the state of the battle of Noisseville appeared hazardous. 
General von Zastrow received an order by telegraph, at 9. 15 


o'clock, to lead his whole Corps to the assistance of General von 
Mantenffers left wing, and to leave only a single brigade in the 
line of investment. 

Simultaneously with this, General von Gdben received orders 
to push the reserve of the VUI. Army Corps to the right, in order 
to be able eventually, to relieve the investing line of the VII. 
Corps entirely. 

General von Kummer was directed, at 9. 30 o'clock, to 
place himself at the disposal of General von Manteuffel, with the 
whole Division, as soon as it had been relieved in its position 
by the leading brigade of the X. Army Corps. 

Whilst the German Corps were distributed, in this well con- 
sidered and careful manner for mutual support and relief, Marshal 
Leboeuf, on the French side, fought the hard battle of Noisse- 
ville, with his Corps almost alone, and even after the action had 
become general, and extended from Failly to beyond Flanville, 
the 4th and 6th Corps did not engage in such a manner as to 
render him support. Too large a part of these corps remained 
inactive, in reserve. The 2nd Corps and the Garde did not even 
leave their reserve position this day. 

Consequently, after the attack of the Germans upon Noisse- 
ville had been repulsed, no energetic offensive was taken, which 
might have turned to good account the advantages, won with so 
much difficulty. Marshal Leboeuf was satisfied with holding his 
position, and was obliged passively to allow one battery after 
another to be brought into position to the south of Ste. Barbe, 
opposite Noisse ville, for the purpose of driving him out of the 
village by artillery fire. The 1st Hessian Infantry Brigade, which 
arrived at Ste. Barbe at 8 o'clock, and five Hessian foot batteries, 
which came up a quarter of an hour later, appeared exactly at 
the right time for General von Manteuffel. Not long after the 
Hessian Cavalry Brigade also arrived, and was directed 4o support 
General von Memerty (3rd Infantry Brigade) behind his left wing, 
to the north-east of Ste. Barbe. 

General von Kummer reported that Wrangel's Division (18th) 
had arrived, and occupied the Bois de Failly with Below's Brigade 


(36tb) and one battery, as well as that the 2nd Hessian Infantry 
Brigade was on the march to Ste. Barbe. 

A communication also came soon after, from the Prince Com- 
mander in Chief; that the X. Army Corps was to move over the 
Moselle in rear of Kummer's Division. 

It therefore now appeared possible to General von Manteuffel 
to gain possession of the village of Noisseville, and at firat, he 
made 50 guns open fire, amongst which were the Hessian 
batteries, in order to shower rifled cannon shot upon the 
village itself, as well as upon the French reserves, standing 
behind it 

At the same time, the 28th Infantry Brigade carried out an 
energetic attack by Puche, against Flanmlkj which was successful, 
and was then directed against Comcy. It managed to drive 
Fauvart-Bastours French Division from its position, and back to 
the Saarbrttcken road in a line with Coiney. As this retreating 
movement endangered the right wing of the Brigade of Montaudon's 
Division, which had occupied Moutoy and Flanviile, Marshal 
Leboeuf ordered Fauvaii; Bastoul's Division to go forward again. 
This did not however succeed, and in face, of the great losses 
among the troops, Marshal Leboeuf himself, now gave the order 
to retire. 

This entailed the retreat of Montaudon's Division also. 

Noisseville began to bm*n in several places. The bombard- 
ment had been continued for almost two hours, and at 11 o^clock 
a. m. the capture of the village was effected. 

Senden's Landwehr Division and Memerty's Brigade moved 
into JVoissemlley amid inconsiderable fighting with the gradually 
departing troops of the French 3rd Corps, who had held out 
so brilliantly for seven hours. Thus the chief fight came to 
an end. 

But there had also been hard fighting opposite Failly and 
Servigny, and, in a south-easterly direction, a demonstration had 
been undertaken from Mets against Mercy-le^Hauty which engaged 
the German VII. Army Corps.* 

These fights began at about 8 o'clock in the morning, and 
took the following course: • 


The 4th Corps maintained its position for a long .time, in 
front of Poix and Servigny; Lorencez's Division had replaced 
Gissey's Division in the first line, but was unable to gain any 
ground, and retired. Oeneral Tixier had begun the attack upon 
Failly, with the 6th Corps, when he perceived the immobility of 
the 4th Corps and afterwards its retreat, drawing with it the 
whole of Canrobert's Corps. At 11 o'clock a. m. the general 
reti'eat was commanded. 

The Germans had gained the victory here, with E^ummer's 
Division, and Below's Brigade. The Hessian Division, and the 
Artillery Corps of the IX. Army Corps still remained in reserve. 

Upon the extreme left flank, masses of French had advanced 
against Mercy4e*Haut , to whom the castle had to be yielded. 
Towards 11 o'clock, it was re-taken, but again had to be evacuated 
at 12 o'clock. 

Soon after, the influence of the fight in the centre, and upon 
the right wing, began to take ^ effect; the French retired here also, 
and at 4 o'clock, the old positions were again taken up. 

The loss of the German Army, in the two day's contest, 
amounted to 120 officers and 2358 men in killed and wounded. 

The loss in the French Army amounted to 141 officers and 
2664 men. 

The latter took up their old positions again on the 2nd of 
September; the 2nd and 3rd Corps upon the right bank, and the 
remainder of the Corps upon the left bank. 

On the same day, Prince Frederick Charles, after receiving 
tidings of the action at Beaumont, and being set at rest in regard 
to an attack by Mac Mahon's Army, issued new orders relative to 
the Investment of Metz, in conformity with which the position of 
the II. Army Corps, to the north-west, was confined to the line 
. Arbou6 — Briey, whilst the remaining corps returned to the enclos- 
ing of the fortress; and now, the south-eastern portion of the 
investment line was especially strongly occupied, for after the 
unsuccessful attempt to break through towards the north-east, the 
probability of a sortie in the direction of Strasburg was increased. 
Also upon the following day, the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg- 
Stchwerinie Army Corps, the XIU., consisting of the I7th Infantry 


Division, and von Selchow'ff and von Gayl's Landwehr Divisions, 
wliich until now had been concentrated on the Seille, amved for 
the reinforcement of the Investing Army, 

This was now distributed as follows (v. the map "Investment 
of Metz, on the 3rd of September 1870"): 

The First Army, with the Grand Duke's Army Corps, held the 
right, the Second Army the left bank of the Moselle ; and Kummer's 
Division retained the position Malroy — Charly, which it had 
hitherto occupied, but later changed to the neighbouring position 
on the left bank; the I. Army Corps joined on to its left flank, 
and extended its own left wing until it commanded the Saar- 
brflcken road. Then, the space from tliis road to Pouilly, was 
occupied by the Grand Duke. The VII. Army Corps stood upon 
both banks of the Moselle to the south of Metz, and had detached 
Woyna's Brigade to the Seille, in order to hold the passage across 
this river. The country between this Corps and the Grand Duke's 
was occupied by Count GrOben's Cavalry Division, whose lino of 
out-posts was pushed forward as far as the Chateau Frescaty. 

Upon the left bank, the VIII. Army Corps occupied the space 
from Jussy to Chatel, keeping, however, its Artillery Corps and 
one Infantry Division in reserve, so that it could be immediately,- 
detached to the Moselle valley, for the relief of the VII. Army 
Corps, which in the event of Bazaine's attempting a soi*tie to the 
south-east, would move back on the Seille. The lU. Army Corps 
stood further towards the north, from Chatel to Saulny, and the 
X. Army Corps was in the valley of the Moselle, to the north of 
MetZ; and upon the heights of Saulny as far as Marange. At this 
point, Bazaine's natural line of retreat to the interior of France, 
the IX. Army Corps stood in reserve, from Roncourt to PieiTe- 
villers, with its head-quarters in Montois. 

In addition to this, Hartmann's Cavalry Division was detached 
towards the neighbourhood of Jouaville, for the purpose of observ- 
ing the tract of country ftom Lqp;uyon to Etain, aiid securing 
the lines of communication of the Mouse Army against the raids, 
which were attempted by the Freach from Verdun. 

The head-quarters of the Army, remained, provisionally, in 


Malanconrt, bat soon after, on the 9th of September, they were 
removed to Corny. 

On the 2nd of September, the news of the battle of Sedan 
spread through the German Army, and thundering shouts of joy 
bore the tidings to the French camp. 

The chances of success now left to the Marshal for a break- 
through, were extremely small. In .the first place the investing 
army wan stronger , and very judiciously distributed ; it had been 
made aware of the weakness of its former positions in each 
particular, and was exalted by the feeling of having gained a 
victory under* unfavourable circumstances; then on the other side, 
the battle of NoissevtUe had produced a deplorable moral con- 
dition in the French army. Mistrust in their leaders and in their 
own powers gained possession, more and more, of the minds of 
the officers and soldiera, who were always conquered. 

The belief, that Metz might have been left on the Slst of 
August, spread universally, and, everywhere. Marshal Bazaine's 
generalship and conjectured views were most severely criticised. 

And in fact the conduct of the Marshal roused the con- 
jecture, that he wished to act, not only as a General hut 
also as a Statesman; that he wished, independently, to make 
military action accord with political events; that he even 
believed, he could pursue his own ambitious views and at the 
same time the interests of France, The temptation, of playing 
an important political role in the general overthrow of existing 
affairs, when at the head of the largest military body which 
France possessed, no doubt came home to an ambitious Bonapartist 

When Bazaine directed the break-through on the 30th of 
August, he knew that Mac Mahon's army was on the march. He 
very probably hoped to beat Prince Frederick Charles in co- 
operation with Mac Mahon, but it could scarcely have been his 
plan to undertake the hazardous venture, by himself alone. Even 
after a successful break-throng^ if he had been followed by the 
whole of the Prince's Army, whilst Mac Mahon might also, have 
been overcome on his side, not only his own plans would have 
come to an end, but the army also. Consequently he did not 


hasten the attack, always expecting to hear the thnndei*of the 
cannon of the Chalons Army, from the north-west. Then, when 
the attack upon the mvesting Army had heen developed, and there 
appeared to be a very good chance of effecting a break-through, 
he decided, notwithstanding the advantage gained, to |^o no further, 
but to content himself with holding what he had got, because, on 
this day, nothing could be discovered of the Army of Chalons, 
but perhaps on the following day he might reckon on Mac Mahon's 

When, however, on the 1st of September still no trace could 
be seen of the expected army of relief, Bazaine willingly re- 
conciled himself to the necessity of remaining in Metz. He had 
satisfied his military duty by attempting to break through ; as the 
second condition ,* the help promised by the Emperor had failed, 
his remaining in Metz was wiser in every respect, and also in 
regard to his own ambitious plans. Probably Mac Mahon was 
conquered, he, Bazaine, was the commander of the only army 
which Fiance possessed, the Emperor had become an impossibility, 
France must now conclude peace, and Metz was the pivot round 
which the peace negotiations turned. 

Thus the Marshal might have calculated. 

That he calculated falsefyy is learnt by a succession oif 
great events which developed themselves, in a manner unexpected 
by all the world. 

When the war was prolonged beyond all reckoning, when the 
army of Metz was in want of the necessary means of existence, 
Bazaine fell from his commanding sHuation, into one in which he 
was completely governed. He was obliged to submit, very much 
against his will, to the plain military laws of war, although, even 
at the last moment, fourteen days before the capitulation, he 
endeavoured to open political negotiations, and to give political 
importance to his position, by sending General Boyer to the German 

The military operations at Metz, which were still attempted 
by the French after the battle of Noisseville, are of subordinate 
importance. They were confined to skhrmishes with the enemy, 
and some sorties on a larger scale, for the purpose of occupying 



the Aany, and acquiring gmall advantages for the out-post posi- 
tions, as well as of capturing provisions. No attempt was again made 
to break through. 

The most important, and at the same time the last under- 
takings of this kind, were the attacks upon the position of Kum* 
mer's Division on the 2Qd and 7th of October. 

On the first named day the sortie was directed against La- 
donchamps, Ste. Agathe, St.* Remy and Bellevue. The Germans 
were driven from their most advanced line, from Ladonchamps and 
Ste. Agathe, but held the fortified second line, and in the further 
progress of the fight completely repulsed the French. 

German loss: 6 officers and 109 men killed and wounded. 

On the 7th of October, the French made an offensive manoBUvre 
on an extended scale. Towards 2 o'clock in the aftenioon, on 
the left bank of the Moselle, French infantry columns with two or 
three batteries were directed against Bellevue, St. Remy, Grandes- 
Tapes and Petites-Tapes, and threw back the advanced posts of 
Rummer's Division, from all their stations, after an obstinate 

General von Voigts-Rhetz sent the 38th Infantry Brigade to 
their support; General von Alvensleben II. dispatched the 9th 
Infantry Brigade towards the wood of Woippy. 

•This .attack on two sides caused the enemy to retire, and it 
ended, at the commencement of dusk, with the re-capture of all 
the positions. 

But a demonstration had also been made by French troops, 
on the right bank, against the line Malroy — Charly, and such 
numerous masses of troops had come up against the I. Army 
Corps at Villers TOrme, that General von Manteuffel sounded the 
alarm for his whole Corps, and made them move into position; 
the VII. Corps was, also, deployed, and the Prince Commander in 
Chief made arrangements for the support of the I. Corps by detach- 
ments of the X. Army Corps. 

The fight in front of the I. Army Corps had, at first, the 
character of a demonstration, and ended in a hot tirailleur fight 
upon the line Villers-rOrme — Nouilly. 

No attack was made against the line Malroy — Charly. 


At 6.30 o'clock p.m., the fight on the right bank of tlie 
Moselle was silent. 

The loss on the German side, in killed and wounded, amounted 
to 65 officers, and 1665 men, and chiefly affected the Landwehr, 
as Kummer's Division had been most severely engaged. 

The situation of the enclosed army, under the twofold in- 
fluence of moral and physical suffering, became more deplorable 
every day. The months of September and October brought a 
great many days of rain, and made the bivouacs outside the town, 
in which the whole mass of troops was distributed, between and 
outside the Forts, comfortless and unhealthy. The scarcity of the 
necessaries of life was detrimental in a still higher degree ; it was 
always becoming more palpable, and from its monotony engendered 
disease. Horseflesh had been almost the only food, besides bread, 
during the greater part of the time the investment lasted. The 
bread was given out daily in rations of 500 gi*ammes , and in 
the beginning of October, in rations of even 300 and 250 grammes, 
only. The number on the sick list increased daily. 

The German Army also suffered extremely from remaining 
stationary so long upon great battle fields, in wet weather. The 
sick list was extraordinarily great, and in many divisions amounted 
to 50 per cent. 

In order to hasten the capitulation, the project was, at one 
time, proposed, of advancing against Queulen from the heights to 
the south and east of this fort, and for this object 40 rifled 
12-pounder siege guns were brought up. The plan was, however, 
given up, and the guns were distributed round the fortress, to act 
against possible sorties. It was then determined to dam the 
Moselle, and cause an inundation which would make it impossible 
for the French to encamp in the valley. The army was occupied 
until the end of the investment, in constructing a great number of 
fascines for this purpose. The capitulation, however, commenced 
before the plan could be carried out. 

From the 14th of August until the 7th of October, the French 
Army had lost in killed, wounded and missing, without reckoning 
the sick, 25 generals, 2099 officers of all ranks and 40,339 non- 
commissioned officei*s and soldiers. 


On the 7th of October, Marshal Bazaine directed a letter to 
the Commandants of the Corps of the fortress and of the special 
arms, in which, with a statement of his reasons, he called together 
a council of war, to decide what further steps should be taken, 
in this desperate situation. On the 10th of October the council of 
war assembled, and decided upon the necessity of entering into 
negotiations with the enemy. 

These negotiations, which, at first, were canied on with Ver- 
sailles, occupied as long as 17 days, during which time the suf- 
fering condition of the unfortunate French Army was considerably 
heightened, and then led to an issue, which had been unavoidable 
after the unsuccessful attempt to break through at Noisseville, — to 
the renowned capitulation, which was of decisive importance for 
the occun'encies at Paris and on the Loire. 

re d.v A. ITiemajm 

UldbvcAjuiceo. , 

SiEOK Operations. 

The conquest of the fortresses of Strasburg, Schlett- 
siadt , Neu - Bretsoch , Pfalzburg , Thtonviile , Montmedy , 
Long my ^ Mezieresy Rocroy^ Toul^ Soissansj f^ef*dun, La Fere 
and Peronne. 


(Compare thq plan of the Siege of Strasburg.) 

Whilst the two main bodies of the German Army invested 
Metz on the one side, and on the other side marched upon Sedan, 
then to Paris, and enclosed the' great city, smaller divisions 
of the army carried on the contest upon other points of the wide 
theatre of war, partly in order to gain possession of a country^ 
which it was hoped tvouid be won back for Germany^ and partly 
for the purpose of bringing into German power, the impor- 
tant and necessary communications for carrying on the siege of 

The most important siege which became necessary for these 

ends, yfRBih^ siege of Strasburg. The investment of this fortress had 

already been begun, immediately after the battle of Woerth*), and 
had been completed on the 15th of August by the occupation of 

Schiltigheim, Ruprechtsau, and Konigshoffen. Sti*asburg was very 

•) Vide page 87. 



easily inyested. It depended only, apon cutting off the north-west 
front. As for the rest, the wide extent of aiiificial inundation, 
formed as much an investment for the besieged, as a protection 
against the besiegers. The investment was all the easier, as noth- 
ing was undertaken fi'om Strasburg to hinder the enemy's occupa- 
tion of high points and positions lying near. Tliis neglect on the 
pai*t of the defence, is sufficiently explained by the defective state 
of the garrison. The Corps which General Uhrich united under 
his command in the fortress, strong in numbers though it was, 
could only produce very few serviceable elements. Before the 
battle of Woerth, the really capable troops in the gairison con- 
sisted only of two battalions of artillery, one battalion of pontoon 
train, two squadrons of cavalry, and the marine troops of the 
Rhine flotilla. Pioneers were completely wanting, and tliese would 
have been just of the most importance. The rest of the garrison 
consisted of newly formed battalions of the Line and Gardes Mo- 
biles, about 10,000 men, upon whom General Uhrich could not 
sufficiently depend for the difficult operation of occupying and de- 
fending the ground in front. 

Naturally also, a thoroughly good element, had not been 
supplied to him in the line troops of the Army beaten at Woerth. 
Half of them consisted of men, belonging to every variety of 
regiment, demoralized by defeat; on the other hand^ the remain- 
ing half, the 87th Regiment of the Line, under command of 
Colonel Blot, was a very valuable accession. This regiment, 
whilst marching through to join Mac Mahon's Corps, on the 6th of 
August, had been commanded by the Marshal to remain in the 

About 7000 men of the Garde Nalwnale sedenlaire y^ of 
Strasburg, made up the numerical strength of the garrison, by de- 
grees, to about 25,000 men; there were very few officers, and 
only five engineer officers in the town. 

Strasburg was provided with guns in very great number. 
Besides the 500 guns belonging to the equipment of the foi-tress, 
there was the siege train destined for ' the German foiixesses, so 
that the number of guns amounted to about 1200. The serving 
troops necessary for the defence were sufficient: with the pontoon 


train and marines of the Rhine flotilla there were about 3000 
artillerymen in the place. 

ThuBy no hindrance on the part of the French was placed 
in the way, of the gradual, close surrounding by the Siege Corps, 
although at the commencement, until the 13th and 14th of August, 
this only consisted of the Baden Division, and consequently was 
not so strong as the garrison. From this time additional detach- 
ments, certainly, arrived successively: the 7th Reserve and Garde 
Landwehr Division, 37 companies of Siege Artillery, a Prus* 
sian pioneer battalion and a Bavarian pioneer company, so that 
altogether, the strength of the Siege- Corps rose to above 50,000 

General von fVerdeVj in entering upon his command on the 
14th of August, found himself immediately opposite the outworks 
of the fortress itself, and accoi'dingly, able to proceed at once to 
the attack, without a long detention at starting, by having to 
conquer the surrounding villages or earthworks raised on the 
exterior. The only question was, what manner of attack it 
should be. 

The garrison of Strasburg was as little fitted for an intelli- 
gent and devoted defence, as the fortress was prepared for siege 
in a fortification point of view. The chief strength of the fortress 
lay in the inundations, which made an attack impossible, except on 
the north-west front ; on this side also, water was a main hindrance 
to the assailants, as several wet ditches had to be overcome. 
In other respects, however, the works offered no unusual difficulties, 
though, at the same time, they certainly presented, tliroughout, 
no particular weakness. 

The revetments are from 24' to 30' in height, 5' thick at 
the top, 12' at the bottom, with 18' buttresses. In order to 
increase the capability of resistance of the masonry thus formed, 
all the important lines are provided with couvrefaces and counter- 
guardB. The command of the different lines of fortification is very 
trifling, Bastion 12, Ravelin 50 and Lunette 52 have nearly the 
same height of rampart. The ditches of the fortress, which through- 
out ai*e wet, have i*evetted escarps, and upon the north-west front 
the counterscarp of the main ditch is also revetted. In the year 



1867^ Stra»barg wai5 provided with traverseB^ as Napoleon had 
ordered the fortress to be put in order. 

The defence was very badly circnmsCanced^ in regard to all 
measures of preparation, by the sudden outbreak of the war; it 
was witliout its proper troops through tlie lack of foresight on the 
part of the French Government, and only scantily supplied with 
ammunition and other material , but superabundantly with guns in 
respect to numbers. Very little had been done towards strengthening 
the works, and the security of the garrison by means of bomb proof 
cover, and through its innctivity during the first, important, period 
of the investment had imbued the besiegers with a low, but 
quite correct, opinion of tlie capability of the defence. 

Upon due consideration of the worth of the garrison, as well 
as of the nature of the works, no doubt could exist, in a military 
point of view, upon tlie kind of attack. 

Strasburg J from a military^ point of view, invited a 

The besiegers duty was to force the fortress to capitulate, as 
quickly as possible, with the greatest saving of their own troops, 
and they could count upon a bombardment completely demoralising 
the garrison, and moving the citizens to exeii; an influence upon 
the commandant for the purpose of a surrender. That this second 
element, the influence of the citizens, was rightly taken into con- 
sideration (apaii; fi'om frequent experience), is clear from a proclama- 
tion of the commandant, Uhvich, and the prefect, Baron Pron, dated 
the \Qth of August which says : 

^^To the inhabitants of Strasburg. Disquieting and terrifying 
rumours, li^ve been spread during the last few days, unintentionally 
or by design, in our brave city. Some individuals have dared to 
entertain the idea that the place would surrender without striking 
a blow. We protest enei^etically, in the name of the courageous 
French population, *against this cowardly and criminal puBillanimity. 
The ramparts are armed with 400 cannon. The garrison is com- 
posed of 10,000 men, without counting the garde nationale se- 
dentaire. If Strasbui'g is attacked, Strasburg will defend herself 
as long as a soldier, a biscuit, or a cai*tridge remains. The good 


may re-assure themselves; as for the others, they have only to 
go away." 

This proclamation confirms the fact that a smaller or larger 
party were dis^iosed to surrender, even before a shot had fallen, 
and indirectly characterises this faction as Germany by contrasting 
it with the courageous French, 

As the necessary guns were not, at first, on the spot, for a 
lieavy and surrounding bombardment, the cannonade was begun 
with field guns, and directed for the most part against the works 
of the forti'ess, in order to disturb the preparations for defence, 
which were only now commenced, after and during the investment. 
The garrison only began, on the 8th of August, to clear the 
ground in front, to place the fortifications in a state of defence 
against a powerful attack {armement de s^rete), and to set about 
otlier works in the lines. These works, instead of being the 
ei'ection of bombproof cover and the construction of traverses etc., 
consisted, solely, in placing palisades in the covered way ; a super- 
fluous measure. 

The fire of the German field guns, which was directed against 
these preparations, also reached the town in places, and wounded 
and killed some of the inhabitants. The preparations for the 
defence of the fortress were considerably hindei*ed, whilst the 
damage to the town was comparatively small. 

« On the 16th of August the first sortie was made, on tlie part 
of the garrison; it was very unfortunately conducted, the troops 
returned witli the loss of 8 guns, 70 killed and wounded, amongst 
these a colonel of pontoons; they also lost some prisoners. On 
the IStk of August the German siege guns first opened fire. 
It was directed h*om the batteries erected at Kehl by the Baden 
Artillery, against the. citadel and the military buildings on the 
esplanade, and^ therefore, was not as yet the bombardment of 
the toum. Nevertheless General Uhrich replied to this fire, by 
firing upon the open town of /Cehl, which was an unnecessaiy 
bai'barity as well as a great folly, because, if the town of Stras- 
burg was now bombarded, the besiegers would only be making 
reprisals, and this they were formally challenged to do. 

In the meanwhile, the Prussian siege train was gradually 


drawing near. In the night of the 23rd of August, 13 bombarding 
batteries (Nos. 1 to 13) were able to be erected in the line Kdnigs- 
hoffen — Aue; from 1500 to 1800 paces from the enceinte, and 
were equipped with about 100 guns. These consisted, besides 
some 50pound mortars, of rifled 24 -pounders. 

On the evening of the^ 24ith the firing upon the town 
commenced^ and was continued^ with several interruptions^ for 
three days. 

The destruction in the town was considerable; many private 
houses, besides public buildings, were greatly damaged, 40 inhabi- 
tai|ts, including 12 women and children, were killed, and a far 
larger number, about 150, were wounded. 

The summons to surrender was refused by General Uhrich. 

The bombardment of the town was stopped, and the 
regular siege began. 

The reasons for this change were, however, not of a military 

With a reinforcement of the cannonade by mortar batteries in 
surrounding positions, it was anticipated that the capitulation would 
follow after a short time.^ At least, experience has proved the 
efficacy of this means with twelve other French fortresses — Toul, 
Soissons, Verdun, Schlettstadt, Neu-fireisach with Foit Mortier, 
Thionville, Longwy, Mpntm^y, La F^re, M6zi6res and P^ronne, 
which were all taken by bombardment. During the whole war, 
Paris excepted, the bombardment with siege guns has never failed 
in its object of causing a surrender. 

Strasburg was spared on political grounds. 

Strasburg, with its renowned cathedral, and so many reminis- 
cences dear to Germany, so long a favourite child of the German 
nation , became , after the first victorious battles in France ^ the 
ardently longed for, and eagerly demanded, object of universal de- 
sire. Strasburg must again become a G^man town. 

On this account the first shots which fell in the town, ex- 
cited sympathy and indignation in Germany; one of , the most po- 
pular German authors gave expression to his pain in telling 
language; through the whole country the question was heard: ''is 
this then necessary?' Public opinion demanded the cessation of 


the bombardment, with the same force with which, at a later pe- 
riod, it required the bombardment of Paris, whilst the bombardment 
of less interesting fortresses passed by unnoticed. 

But the German Army Direction itself, had also decided 
with reluctance upon the militarily prescribed bombardment; 
for Slarasburg was to revert to the German empire. It was 
th^efore given up as soon as the first terroi* had proved to be 

The German Ai*my Direction was already in such a favourable 
position, that it could allow itself to guide the war in a luxurious 
manner, on some points. It therefore took into account public 
opinion and its own wishes, and began the regular siege/ It is a 
question whether the population really suffered less from this, than 
they would have done from the bombai*dment , had it been con- 
tinued. It is probable that the smaller but constantly repeated 
losses during the long period up to the 27th of September, came 
altogether to a largw sum, than the greater, though transitory 
damages which would have been produced, had the bombardment 
been continued. The injuries to numerous civilians during the 
regular siege, were owing to several shot flying, unintentionally, 
over the rampart and falling in the town; this was especially apt 
to be the case at night, when the exact aim could not be seen, 
and the artillerymen had chiefly to be guided by the laying of 
the guns. The sum -total of the losses sustained by the civil 
population is reckoned at 261 killed, and 1100 wounded; very 
heavy in comparison with the losses during the days of the 

It is, howerer, possible that greater conflagrations caused by 
a prolonged bombardment, would have quickly raised the losses 
considerably, and increased the injury to the town. Thus there 
is always reason to suppose, that Strasburg was in reality spared. 

The fire of the French garrison had been unable to attain 
any success against the German batteries, and no fresh sortie was 
attempted; after the bombardment ceased, no steps were taken to 
discover the further intentions of the besiegers, no reconnaissances 
were made, nor were electric lights turned upon the works of the 
Germans at night. They consequently succeeded in the night of 


the 29th of August, quite undisturbed aod unobserved, in opening 
the firui parallel, at a distance of from 700 to 800 paces from 
the outermost glacis , under a vigorous fire against the ramparts. 
It extended from the inundation on the left, to Kdnigshoffen on 
the right y was half a German mile {2^j\^ English) in length, 
4' deep, and was furnished, the same night, with 10 new batteries 
lying behmd it (Nos.-14, 16, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, and 
46 rifled 12-ponnders). At the same time, the centre and left eom- 
munications were completed, by which a covered connection, not 
overlooked from the fortress, was established with the gronnd 
in rear. 

On the following morning the garrison saw the gigantic work 
with surprise and terror. 

The attack was, consequently, directed against the Porte de 
Pierres front. 

What reasons the German Head -Quarters had for operating 
against this more difficult front, rather than against the Porte Natio- 
nale front, which is not covered by lunettes lyii^ before it, is 
unknown. It was learnt at a later period, that the French had 
expected an attack upon the latter front, and, it was more strongly 
equipped witli guns and provided with a complete system of mines. 
It is possible that this was known on the German side. 

To oppose the fire of the besiegers, now strengthened by 
46 new guns, the fire of the garrison was only augmented on the 
night of the 31st of August, and on the following morning, it cer- 
tainly obtained some advantages. But during the night the be- 
siegers had again erected two fresh batteries, Nos. 26 and 28, 
and towards evening gained a decided superiority. Several French 
guns and many embrasures were dismounted. 

The superiority of the quality of the Prussian artillery, both 
in material and troops, was cleai*ly shown* 

On the night of the 1st of September, zig-sags had been 
pushed forward, by means of flying sap, from the 1st pai'allel at 
two points, and the 2nd parallel had been traced. The garriscm, 
on the other hand, undertook two sorties, directed against the 
railroad buildings and the island of Waaken. Both were repulsed 
after some fighting. The works were carried on also in the 

_ J 



day-time, but led to a misfortane. The PrusBian engineer officers, 
Lieutenant Colonel von Gayl and Captain Hertzberg, who were 
condneting their men in the prolongation of an approach against 
the fortress, whieh had been erroneously ti*aced in the night, came 
within range of the enemy's fire and were killed, together witb 
several of the working party. In consequence of this the works 
were stopped during the day-time. 

From this time the garrison continued their sorties, for the 
most part, certainly, with small forces. Their most important 
undertaking, was Colonel Blot's attack on the night of the 2nd of 
September. He directed it against the right wing of the attack, 
crossed both parallels and came up to within 30 paces of the 
Prussian battery No. 4; here, however, he was repulsed. 

In addition to hindrances of this sort on the part of the 
garrison, there was also veiy unfavourable weather; it rained al- 
most incessantly, so that the trenches were full of water. 

It was only on the night of the 5th of September that the 
construction of the 2nd parallel was completely finished. Its length 
was 2300 paces, width 12', depth fix>m 4' to 6'. 

The cannon fight meanwhile, continued. On the German side, 
ftx^m the 3rd to the 5th, the batteries 16a, 17a, 19a and 21a 
(taking the place of the batteries 16, 17, 19 and 21) and 
the dismounting batteries 29, 30 and 33, were greeted. The 
mortar fire upon the works of the fortress was also increased at 
the same time, by erecting the batteries 31 and 32, each for 
4 50pound mortars, and 3 emplaoemeats each for 4 7pound mortars, 
indicated as batteries 34, 36 and 37. On the 3rd of September, 
two, q«ite new descriptions of guns, were added to the siege park, 
short rifled 24-pounders and rifled 72pound mortars (21 centimetre), 
from which lunette 44, which disturbed the siege works by a 
flanking fire, was bombarded (batteries 5 and 35). 

The Baden artillery at the same time, bombarded the citadel 
from Kehl, with 16 rifled 24-pounders, and 16 rifled 12-pounder8, 
as well as 12 2&pottnd and 60pound mortars. 

Altogether 152 guns, including 52 mortars, were brought into 
action against tiie citadel and the Porte de Pierres front be- 
fore the 9th of September, and on this day the fire attam^^ 


such success that not a single French long barrelled gun could 
show itself any more upon the ramparts. On the other hand the 
garrison now began a . vigorous mortar fire upon the besiegers, 
from mortars placed behind the ramparts, which, combined with the 
fire from the 'walibttchsen^, exacted many a victim. The German 
works, however, conducted with the greatest circumspection^ by most 
skilful officers, and executed by numerous and courageous troops, 
progressed with astonishing rapidity. 

In the night of the 10th of September, the approaches to the 
drd parallel, and the 3rd parallel itself were cottstructed with 
the common sap, and in the 2nd parallel, 7pound mortars were 
mounted, behind them 50pound mortars (Nos. 45, 46, 7a) and 
even in front of them, rifled G-pounders. 

The garrison only replied by mortar fire. 

In the night of the 11th of September, the 3rd parallel was 
completed; in the night of the 13th, a half parallel was carried 
out, which approached to within 40 paces of the edge of the glacis. 

Mining operations, which were expected as soon as the besiegers 
touched the glacis, did not occur. To a certain extent, the 
inundation, which could not everywhere be appropriately made 
use of, may have been a hindrance ; on the whole, the blame lies 
with the passiveness of the garrison. Even if miners were wanting, the 
French engineer officers might still have managed some explosions. 

But without any such difficulties the crowninff of the glacis^ 
in front of the lunettes 52 and 53, was accomplished on the 17th 
of September, after Captain Ledebour, of the Engineers, had disco- 
vered and fired the mining system in front of lunette 53. 

With this the preparatory works came to an end, and the 
introduction to an assault could be energetically proceeded with; 
that is to say, the formation of a breach in the main rampart, and 
a practicable road leading to the breach for the storming column. 

It is here worthy of remark * that the breach was not made 
from the works crowning the glacis, as is the rule in siege opera- 
tions, but this result was obtained by indirect fire from the 2nd 

Battery No. 8 had already begun the breach, on the right 
face of lunette 53, on the 14th of September, and completed it 


the day before the crowning of the glacis. Battery No. 42, firing 
6 short rifled 24-ponnder8 against bastion No. 11, and battery 
No. 58, firing 4 guns of the same calibre against bastion No. 12, 
then laid open the breach in the main rampart by indirect firing 
at the distance of about 900 and 1000 paces. This breach 
was begun on the 23rd of September. The engineers, in the 
meanwhile, were actively engaged in forming the road to the breach, 
in which the ditches filled with water' presented very considerable 

Possession of both the lunettes must first be obtained. 

Descents into the ditch were carried down to the water level 
from the crown-work. The escarp wall of lunette No. 53 was 
brought down on the 20th, to the widtli of 12', by a mine, and 
now the ditches of the lunette could be bridged over by means 
of a dam, supposing they were not defended. 

The bold attempt succeeded. The garrison had been driven 
out by the fearful artillery fire of the besiegers. The lunettes 
were given up by the French without fighting. 

liUnette 53 was approached by means of a dam leading through 
the ditches, and occupied ; the deeper ditches in front of lunette 52, 
were bridged over by the engineers, with ban*els and planks laid 
upon them, under the direction of Captain Andreft. 

Then, in the night of the 2l8t, a storming column forced its 
way into this lunette also, with a loss, it is true, of 50 killed 
and wounded, caused by the enemy's fire from the main rampart. 

From the lunettes thus gained, the sap could now be pushed 
forward up to the covered way of ravelin No. 50, and then along 
it , and at the same time the effect of the breaching batteries upon 
bastions 11 and 12 could be advantageously observed. 

The effect of these was excellent. The batteries mentioned 
had been augmented by three counter batteries, Nos. 51, 53 and 
54, erected in the crowning, and on the 27th of September the 
masonry of the right face of bastion No. 11 was brought down 
to a width of 30 paces. 

In order to make the assault possible^ it was now only 
necessity to bring down, by shot, that part of the earthen 
rampart, which still remained standing (to make the breach com- 


pletely practicable), and to complete the passages over the two wet 
ditches, upon this side and the farther side of the undressed and 
unoccupied counter-guard. 

The commandant of the fortress, tiowever, did not wait for 
the preliminary measures for the assault to be completed. 

After the crownmg had been accomplished in front of the 
counter-guard of ravelin No. 50, on the morning of the 27th of 
September, and after the existence of a breadi in the main rampart 
had been confirmed, white flags appeared upon the Cathedral 
Tower, and upon the attacked works, at 5 oVlock, in the after- 

This rapid surrender of the fortress , immediately after a 
breach had been made, whilst, surely, the breach itself might have 
been very obstinately defended, gives fi'esh proof, of what had 
already been indicated by the scarcity of sorties, the neglect of 
mining operations and other faults, that the garrison was intimidated 
by the energetic manner of attack of the besiegera, and was espe- 
cially discouraged by the superiority of the Prussian ai'tillety. 

A retreat of the gai*rison to the citadel, which General Uhrich 
had spoken of at the commencement of the siege, was impossible, 
as the batteries at Kehl had destroyed all the buildings of the 
citadel, and greatly injured the fortifications. 

The siege had lasted 50 days, reckoning fi*om the 8th of 
August, and the regular attack 31 days. The besiegers brought 
into action, in siege guns, 46 long rifled 24-pounders, 12 short 
rifled 24-pounders, 80 rifled 12-pounders, 27 50pound and 60pound 

*) Very different opinions have been expressed, even by competent jadges, 
upon this capitulation, as well as upon the whole siege of Strasburg. It is 
not surprising that in France, General Uhrich should have been much ex- 
tolled before he capitulated, and very hardly condemned after Strasburg had 
fallen, but with so many diverse judgments on the part of others, one will do 
well to consider tirst, the political point of view of the judge, and then also, 
to remember that a siege is always a favourable object for criticism and 
counter criticism. It is a complicated process, in which always many steps 
might have been differently carried out. 

On the whole, the siege of Strasburg ran the course that was to be 
expected. The well prepared, excellently equipped besiegers, flushed with 
victory, made rapid progress against the unprepared, ill-organized garrison. 


mortarB, 24 25pouud mortars, 30 Tpound mortarS; 2 rifled (21 Cm.) 
mortara, and fired from them, altogether, 193,722 shot aud shell 
into the forti^ess. The total loss of the besiegers amounted to 
906 men^in killed and wounded, that of the garrison to aboat 
3000 men. 

In the town about 400 jbouses were so much injured that 
they required rebuilding from the foundations. 

The tenor of the capitulation was as follows: 

"Lieutenant General von Werder, of the Royal Prussian Army, 
Commander of the Siege Corps before Strasbiirg, having been re- 
quested by Lieutenant General Uhrioh, Governor of Strasburg, to 
cease hostilities against the fortress, has agreed with him to con- 
clude the following capitulation, in consideration of the honourable 
and brave defence of the place: 

Art. I. At 8 o'clock, on the morning of the 28lh of September 
1870, General Uhrieh will evacuate the Citadel, the Porte d'Aoster- 
litz , the Porte . des P^heurs and the Porte Nationale. At the 
same time the German troops. will occupy these points.. 

Art, II. At 11 o'clock, on the sfime day, the French garrison, 
including the Gai'des Mobiles and the Gardes Nationaux, will vacate 
the fortress by the Poi*te Nationale, will form up between lunette 
44 aud redoubt 37, and lay down their arms. 

Art. HI. The troops of the Line and the Gardes Mobiles 
become prisoners of war, and will march off at ouce with their 

The Gardes Nationaux and Francs- Tireurs are ftee, under a 
written engagement, not to serve during the war, and muBt lay 
down their arms at the Mairie before 11 o'clock, a. m. The list 
of the officers of these troops will be given over to General von 
Werder at the same hour. 

Art. IV. The officers aoid officials with the rank of officers, 
belonging to the French garnson of Strasburg, can depart to aneh 
residences as they may select, after they have given a written 
engagement, upon their word of honour. Those officers who 
refuse to sign this engagement, will go with the garriaon to Ger- 
many, as prisoners of war. All the army Burge^NiB will continue 
their functions, until further orders. 


Art. V. Lieutenant General Ulirieh binds himself, directly the 
laying down of the arms has been aecomplished, to hand over all 
military effects, and all public monies etc., in the regular manner, 
through the officials concerned, to the agents on this side. 

The officers and officials, who will be charged with this mission 
on each side, will be at the Place Broglie in Strasburg at 12 o* clock, 
noon, on the 28th etc. etc. etc.*' 

In consequence of this capitulation, 17,111 men and 451 
officers, about 1200 guns, 1843 horses, great stores of rifles, 
powder, prepared ammunition, and about 10 millions of francs, in 
state money, fell into German hands with the fortress. 

The conquest of the fortress was of great importance to 
the Germans. It was an imposing event, and disheartening both 
for the Parisians, who had already been invested about 14 days 
when they received the news of it, and were cut off from all 
intercourse with the rest of France, and also foi* the bands of 
Francs-Tireurs, who were wandering about in the Vosges. 

From Strasburg the conquest of the fortresses Schlettstadt, 
Neu-Breisacli with Fort Mortier, and Belfort could be proceeded 
with, and, above all, the whole of Upper Alsace could be subjected 
to the conqueror. 

Already two days after the taking of Strasburg, three mobile 
columns, acting in concert under command of Major General von 
Degenfeld went off, for the purpose of clearing out and subjecting 
the Vosges, which were strongly occupied by Francs-Tireurs (v. 
Chapter 12, on the operations of the southern Armies), and as 
early as the 9th of October, Neu-Breisach and Schlettstadt were 

The conquest of these fortresses was entrusted to the Atk 
Reserve Division iSSchmeling), which was formed at Freiburg in 
the Breisgau, in the beginning of October, and had crossed the 
Rhine at Neuenburg. The Division first endeavoured to make 
iVieti- flreiiwicA surrender, by bombarding it with field guns; the 
attempt, however, failed , and it continued the march to Schlett- 
stadt, after the former fortress had been invested. 


The siege train, for both plaees, was provided from Stras- 


Schlettstadt, containing 11,000 inhabitants, lies upon the left 
bank of the 111, which is navigable from Colmar, and by the side 
of which runs the upper Alsace railroad, the direct line of com- 
munication between Strasburg and Belfort. The place is favour- 
ably situated for defence , and is strengthened by inundations, 
which cover, ^specially, the east front. All the ditches can be 
filled with water. The fortress has a high revetment, a great 
part of which is visible from afar, and a simple bastion tracing 
with several high cavaliers. Xl^o garrison consisted of more than 
4000 men, including the National Guard. 

General von Schmeling decided upon bombarding the foiiress. 
He commenced the cannonade with siege guns (rifled 12-pounders), 
on the 19th of October. On this day however, only a single battery 
could be brought into action in front of Heidelsheim, for the rest 
of the siege train had not yet arrived, and this bombardment was 
too weak to produce any result 

In the night of the 22nd of October he was able to opep 
the 1st parallel, opposite the Colmar gate, at a distance of from 
500 to 700 paces, and to erect six batteries in it, which were 
equipped with ,8 rifled 24 -pounders, 8 rifled 12 -pounders, 
4 26pound mortars and 4 50pouiid mortars. 

The fortress vigorously returned the fire until noon on the 
following day ; the fire from the ramparts then ceased, and began 
again in the afternoon, in an altered form, as a mortar fire behind 
the ramparts. 

Towards morning, however, after the 2nd parallel had been 
laid during the night, the fortress capitulated witli 2400 men (not 
including the Garde Nationale) and 120 guns. 

The surrender was principally brought about, by the de- 
moralization of the gaiTison produced by the bombardment. Dis- 


cipline was completely Blackened, so that the CommandaBt, Count 
Reinachy was obliged to beg the Germans to accelerate their 

The town itself had suffered very little, for the inhabitants 
had guarded their houses well, and the only buildings which were 
destroyed were those situated on the front of the attack, which 
were much exposed. 


Neu-Breisach, simply a military fortress, with its numerous 
towers of defence, and very picturesquely situated, has its east 
front resting upon the Rhone-Rhine canal, which passes near the 
town. The road parallel to the Rhine, as well as the less impor- 
tant one, which, crossing the Rhine, leads from Alt-Breisach to 
Neu-Bi*eisaeh, from whence it runs by Colmar, through the Vosges 
to St. Di^, are, the one as well as the other, commanded by the 
fire from the fortress at the point where they cross the Rhone- 
Rhine canal. 

The fortress lies in an open plain near the Rhine; the 
detached . Foi*t Mortier, a quarter-(^-an-hour's walk from the shore 
rampart of the Alt-Breisach road, is under the same command as 
the fortress. 

The ground tracing of Neu-Breisach, represents a regular 
octagon; behind the casemated bastions are high tower redoubts, 
in front of them outworks, lunettes and demi-lunes. The ditches 
are filled with water. Besides these, there were numerous places 
of artificial cover, of advantage to the garrison. 

General von Sekmeling began the investment, as already 
mentioned, on the 9th of October, and on the 2nd of November 
opened fire upon both portions of the fortress. Against Neu- 
Breisach, three batteries were erected, at Biesheim and Wolf- 
gantzen; against Fort Mortier, three batteries at Alt-Breisach. 
These were armed with 8 short rifled 24-pounder8, 4 21centim^tre 
miortars and 4 long 24-ponnders, taken from the French. 


Fort Mortier capitulated in consequence of the bombardment, 
on the night of the 6th of November, with 220 men and 5 guns; 
the excellent cover places of the fortress, however, stood ihe gar- 
rison in such good stead, that they held out against the bombard- 
ment, for nine days without capitulating, although, with the ex- 
ception of a few buildings, the town was completely destroyed by 
this long continued cannonade. 

Indeed the besiegers, doubting the success of the bombard- 
ment, intended to proceed to a regular siege, when, on the 10th 
of November, the capitulation ensued, in consequence of a mutiny 
of the Gardes Mobiles, which made it impossible for the com- 
mandant to continue the defence. 5000 men, and 100 officers 
became prisonei*s of war, and 100 guns were taken. 

The fortress of Belfoi*t in the most southehi part of Alsace, 
required a long continued siege, and the fighting round this place 
was closely connected with great operations in the field, (v. 
Chapter 12.) 

Ex<>epting Belfort, and Bitsch (which never fell at all), the 
last fortified place in Alsace passed into German hands with the 
capitulation of Neu-Breisacfa. 

In the adjoining Lorraine^ the places now in question were 
PfaUbvrg and Thionviliej belonging to that part which was to 
be won back again; as well as TquI^ which was very important 
from being a bar to the only direct railroad to Paris; Ferduny 
oi great consequence as a point of support to the enemy's under- 
takings, and Longwjf aad Montmedt/j places which certainly were 
of less importance, but still could not remain disregarded, as they 
weie centres for the resistance of the enemy, in the midst of the 
German lines of communication. 




The III. Aimy had already come in contact with Pfalzburgj 
when marching past it on the 8th of August, and on the 14th it 
was bombai'ded, by the whole of the artillei'y corps of the VI. 
Army Corps, with GO field guns. 

The sti'ength of Pfalzbnrg consisted in its position upon 
high rocky hills. The place is only small, numbering 3700 in- 
habitants, and was garrisoned by a battalion of the 63rd Line 
Regiment, 100 artillerymen, a battalion of the Garde Mobile, 
and 500 men, composed of scattered Turcos, Zouaves and other 

As was always the case in the course of the war, the bom- 
bardment of the works of the fortress with field guns produced 
no result. 

A considerable fire was ignited in the town, fifty -seven 
buildings were destroyed, but the commandant. Major Taillantj 
refused the summons to sun*ender, sent to him on the 15th of 

From the 16th therefore, only two battalions of the Line 
remained behind for the investment, and from the 19th, three 
Landwehr battalions from the Thuringian Regiments 31 and 71. 

This was a very difficult operation, for the country round the 
fortress can be but little surveyed, and in many parts is deeply 
intersected, so that the line of investment had to be extended to 5 or 
6 hours (from 18 to 22 English miles) in length, and consequently 
a large number of outposts was necessary. Added to which, the 
garrison carried on a very energetic petty warfare. 

In consequence of two companies being ordered away, and 
numbers falling sick from the fatigues of outpost duty, the 
strength of the investing Corps until October was reduced to 1700 
men ; but from the 20th of October it was again somewhat increased 
by reinforcements in cavalry. 

On the 24th of August, the garrison made a strong sortie, 
which was very well executed. About 800 men advanced in 
echellon, with great rapidity against the village Unter - Eichen- 


Baracken, then suddenly closing together^ took the village and 
threw back the German out posts. As soon as the investing troops 
were concentrated and brought up, the French moved back under 
cover of the guns of their fortress. Similar sorties were made by 
the garrison, on the 25th of August, against Mittelbronn, and 
again on the 27th of August, against Unter-Eichen-Baracken. 

The situation of the investing troops was exposed to danger, 
an4 did not cliange for the better until reinforced by the arrival 
of a 4-pounder field battery from the Strasburg siege corps. 

On the 14th of September tlie garrison made a sortie against 
Bilchelberg, which was very successfully repulsed. 

Until Strasburg had been taken, however, strong bands of 
Fi'ancs-tireurs filled the country round Ltttzelburg, so that measures 
for security had to be considerably increased, even in rear of the 
cantonment, and the powers of the men were strained to the 

This condition improved from the beginning of October, when 
the Franc8-tii*eurs departed to the south; a serious attack upon 
the fcMrtress could not, however, be attempted. 

Neither the regular siege nor the bombardment had a prospect 
of success, for the nature ^f the ground rendered the formation 
of covered approaches very diffictilt, and the rocky structure of 
the lofty fortifications o£fSered too powerful a resistance to the 
shot. Besides which, the place was not of sufficient value to 
justify the toil and sacrifice of a strong attack, in order to gain 
possession of it. 

Upon one occasion, the 24th of November, a short bombard- 
ment from field guns, was opened at 10.30 o'clock p.m., to make 
reprisals for the frequent fire of the gamson upon single posts 
and patrols; but otherwise, the investment only was carried out 
with the object of subduing the place by starvation. 

These means gained the object. 

On the 30th of November pailementaires appeared from the 
fortress, who tendered the capitulation, but also required the free 
departure of the garrison. 

The offer was refused by Major von Giese^ commander of 
the investing troops. 



The commandant of the fortress now endeaironred to send 
away the Gardes Mobiles in bodies as deserters, but the trick was 

Then, finally, on the 12th of December, at 2 o'clock p.m.. 
Major Taillant offered to surrender at discretion. 

On the 14th of December, the occupation of the fortress by 
German troops ensued, 52 officers and 1838 men became prisoners 
of war, and 65 guns were taken. All these guns had been pre- 
viously spiked by the garrison, all the powder and ammunition 
stores destroyed , and 12,000 rifles broken. No reproach can, 
however, be made on this account, as no stipulation was made for 
the articles named to be delivered up, and no protocol had been 
drawn up, as to the mode of surrender. 

The commandant of the fortress had simply declared that the 
gates were open, and the gaiTison disarmed, although not con- 
quered ; he bad entered into no engagements in the way of further 

It was notorious that nothing but starvation, combined with 
a small-pox epidemic, had brought about the surrender, and it 
must be acknowledged that the defence had been excellent, espe- 
cially in regard to the sorties; also, on the other hand, that the 
fnvesting troops, so weak in numbers, had distlngnished themselves 
by their performances. 


Thionville^ with 8000 inhabitants and a garrison of over 
4000 men, had already been watched and invested during the 
investment of Metz, soon after the battle of Gravelotte. This 
measure was necessary for the security of the investing army. 

The attack upon the fortress, however, only began after the 
fall of Metz. 

Situated upon the left bank of the Moselle, about three miles 
(13^/5 English miles), down the stream, from Metz, Thionville has 
a regular fortification, upon this bank, composed of ravelins and 
bastions, with counter-guards lying in front, and a girdle of lunettes 



outside the covered way. Upon the right bank, there is a donble 
tete de pont, for covering the passage across the Moselle and its 
neighbouring arm. 

The flat Moselle valley, lying immediately around, is bordered 
by commanding hills, whidi endanger the fortress, at a distance of 
from 2000 to 2500 paces upon the right bank, and 3000 to 4000 
paces on the left bank. 

The 14th Infanti*y Division, Lieutenant General von Kamecke^ 
was charged with the conquest of the fortress. He moved off from 
Metz on the 9th and 10th of November, and approached by both 
banks of the river. On the 10th, 11th .and 12th, General 
von Ramecke made a minute reconnaissance, and then decided upon 
a bombardment from the heights mentioned. Afta: this the fortress 
was closely invested, thirteen companies of siege artillery belonging 
to Metz were brought up, i. e. from Verdun (which at that time 
had already been taken), and bombarding batteries were constructed 
upon both banks. 

Upon the right bank, 6 rifled 24-pounders, 6 rifled 12-ponnders 
and 4 13 inch French mortars were placed in the Bois d'lllange 
and the Bois dTutz, at a distance of about 2200 paces; besides 
these, four heavy batteries of the 7th Field artillery Regiment were 
also brought into position upon the hill of Haute Yuts and the 
hill to the east, before Illange, partly for the .purpose of bombarding 
the t^te de pont, and partly, the north-east front of the town. 

Upon the left bank of the Moselle, at a greater distance, as 
much as 5000 paces, were erected two batteries of 4 rifled 24- 
pounders at Chd.teau Serre; one battery of 4 rifled 24-pounderB 
to the north of the road from Thionville to Marapich, one battery 
of 5 rifled 24-pounders at Maison neuve, one battery of 4 rifled 
12-pounders at Weymerange, one battery of 4 rifled 24-pounder8 
to the south of the road from Thionville to Bauvange, one battery 
of 4 rifled 12-pounder8 to the north of the road Bauvange an 
St. Michel, and three batteries of 4 rifled 12-pounder8 at Maison 
rouge, to the west of the Luxemburg road. 

This bombardment preparation was extraordinarily large in 
comparison with its object. 

Favoured by the ground, the batteries could, for the most part, 


be constructed in the day time ; masking objects were at hand, so 
that the work was but little disturbed by the enemy. 

In the night of tlie 2l8t of November the constmction of all 
the batteries was completed, and also their eqnipment, and, at the 
same time, the line of investment was pushed closer to the fortress. 
On the 22nd of November, at 7 o'clock a.m., the first shots fell, 
and a regulated fire was then opened, whicli lasted until noon. 

The fortress replied with vigour, and with well aimed shots. 

At 1 o'clock p.m., the fire of the bombardment began aft'esh, 
and was slowly sustained until the following morning. 

During this night the first parallel was opened at a distance 
of 800 paces to the west of the town, and this finished the prepara- 
tions for a regular attack. 

The following day the cannonade was continued in the same 
manner as on the 22nd. 

At 1.30 o'clock p.m., the fortress hoisted a white flag. 

The commandant demanded a free departure for the women 
and children, and an armistice for 24 hours. The negotiations 
were broken off, and the fire was again commenced, and continued 
until 10.30 o'clock a.m. on the 24th. At this hour the white 
flag appeared afresh ; the commandant, Chef de bataillon MauricCy 
had decided to surrender. On the following day the fortress was 
occupied; 120 officers and about 4000 men became prisoners of 
war, 200 guns were taken, and a ereat quantity of war material 
and several magazines filled with provisions. 

The unlucky little town had suffered very considerably, and 
more, comparatively, than Strasburg. 


The conquest of Montmedy was set on foot, by Lieutenant 
General von Kamecke^ immediately after the fall of Thionville, 
and indeed simultaneously with the observation of Longwy. 

The fortress of MontmMy, with a small town of about 2500 
inhabitants, lies on the Chiers, one mile (4^/5 Engl, m.) from the 


Belgian frontier, and forms a station on the railroad between 
Thionville and Sedan. The fortress is characterised by two divisions. 
The "'vUle haute" situated upon a three cornered rock, 200' high, 
descending on all sides at an angle of from 30 to 45 degrees, is 


very strong; it contains five barracks for 800 men, an arsenal 
and two powder magazines. The ^''ville hass€'\ situated between 
the Chiers and the vUle haute, is only defended by a loop-holed 
wall, which being exposed on all sides can easily be shot down. 

The garrison numbered over 3000 men, with 65 guns; they 
had brought themselves into notice on the 11th of October, by 
making a sortie against Stenay, and seizing the German £tappen 
command at that place. General von Kamecke decided upon a 
bombardment, and, on the 7th of December, commenced to construct 
batteries. The rifled 24-pounders (8 long and 10 short), 20 rifled 
12<pounderB and 20 rifled 6-pounders, field guns, were placed upon 
the heights surrounding the fortress, at a distance of from 2000 
to 3800 paces, and 4 rifled mortars in the valley, close behind 
the village of Vigneulles. The construction of the batteries was 
a very difficult undertaking, both on account of the activity of the 
garrison, whose cannon and rifle fire forced the besiegers to work 
exclusively at night, and also from obstacles of the ground — 
the hill and valley roads being covered with hard frozen snow, 
which Inteifered with bringing up guns and other material. 

On the morning of the 12th of December, however, the 
batteries were ready and equipped ; the fire upon the fortress began 
at 7.30 o'clock, in bright weather. 

After a short time, it was very energetically replied to, from 
Montm^dy, and, although several guns upon the front attacked 
were silenced, the fire of the fortress lasted until dusk. 

On the following day, there being a thick fog, tjie cannonade 
was only continued slowly, in the same manner as it had been 
during the night ; in the eyening the town was observed to be on 
fire, and at 7.30 o'clock, a parlement^ire appeared, to negotiate 
the capitulation. A mutiny amongst part of the garrison had made 
it impossible to continue the defence. The surrender took place at 
2 o'clock p.m., on the 14th of December; in addition to the garrison, 
236 German prisoners of war came into German hands. 



Longuy had been invested at the latter end of November, 
by Colonel von Cosely by order of General von Kamecke, and 
the bombardment first began on the 16th of January. 

The fortress lies apon the right bank of the Chiers, and, like 
Montm6dy, forms an upper and a lower town; the latter is not 
fprtified at all, the upper town, however, is surrounded with bastion 
fortifications, conforming to the shape of the rock on which it lies, 
and is unusually strong. The fortress was erected by Vauban in 
1680, as a. counter fort to Luxemburg. The town contains about 
2700 inhabitants. 

Longwy held out against the bombardment, from the 16th to 
the 25th of January 1871, favoured by its high situation and 
strong rock foiiifications. After that, the capitulation ensued, with 
a garrison of 4000 men and 200 guns. 


MeziereSj an impoiiiant point of support for the Franc -tireurs 
in the Ardennes, was invested and bombarded in the latter days 
of December, after the fall of Montm^dy. The siege corps was 
under the command of Major General von fVoyna, 

The fortress lies upon the right bank of the Mouse, in a 
bend of the river, which here runs so close .that the fortress 
resembles an island. Thus its capability of resistance lies , to a 
great extent, in the surrounding water, which fills all the ditches, 
and can be used for inundation. The town has about 6000 in- 
habitants and forms the junction of the railroads to Rheims and 
Thionville. The fortifications are characterised by a citadel with 
seven bastions upon the east side, which commands the Meuse, and 
a horn work upon the west side, from which a second horn work, 
with three lunettes, is thrown out. 

A bombardment of some days, which inflicted great losses on 
the garrison and inhabitants, resulted iu the capitulation; this 


took place on the 2nd of January 1871, and, with the fortress, 
2000 men, 106 guns and large magazines of provisions were 
brought into German power. 


The fall of M^zi^res was immediately followed by the taking 
of Rocroy. Three days after the occupation of the former fortress, 
five battalions and two squadrons of Senden^s Landwehr Division, 
with six batteries, under the command of General von fVoynay 
moved forward for the purpose of carrying Rocroy by surprise. 
Quite unobserved, in a thick fog, they succeeded in enclosing the 
fortress in the* foi*m of a cincture, and in directing 36 guns upon it. 
The commandant was only madp aware of the presence of the 
enemy, by the ariival of tlie German pariementaire with the 
summons to surrender. The capitulation was refused, but marvellous 
to relate, to the astonishment of the besiegers themselves, the fire 
from the German guns which lasted for five hours, produced the 
most decisive success, although there was no object for the gunners 
to aim at, nor could the efficacy of the shots be discovered any- 

As it was imagined that the artillery fire, in such a thick 
fog, was useless, General von Seuden, who arrived at noon, had 
even given orders for the firing to cease at 5 o'clock p. m. and 
made arrangements for the departure of his greatly fatigued troops, 
leaving a rear-guard behind. He would not however, neglect once 
more summoning the commandant to surrender, and sent the paiier 
mentaire. First Lieutenant von F(^ter, again, into the fortress for 
this purpose. 

Lieutenant von FOrster was astonii^ed to see that the shot 
thrown at random, had ignited considerable fires, and observed that 
the garrison and inhabitants were in a state of ntter confusion^ 

The commandant, threatened with mutiny, beg^;ed that a rapid 
entrance might be made by the German troops; the disorder had, 
however, already risen to such a height, that most unusual steps 
had to be taken instantaneously. 


In order to take immediate poaBeBHiou of the gate. Lieutenant 
voD ForBter armed 8 liberated German prisoners of war (5 of 
the cavalry, 1 of infantry and 2 civilians) with rifles belonging 
to the Garde Mobile, and mounted a guard at the gate which 
kept order until the an-ival of two Prussian companies. 

There fell into Geiman hands, with the fortress, 8 officers 
and 300 men ; 72 guns, one colour, many arms, 400 cwt. of powder 
and enormous stores of provisions, ammunition and articles of 
clothing were acquired. Possession was taken on the 5th of January, 
during cutting cold weather. 


The conquest of Tout, was made long before the forts situated 
on the Belgian and Luxemburg frontiers had been taken. 

As early as the 10th of September the Grand Duke of Meeklen- 
bnrg-Schwerin, who, with the XIIL Army Corps, had belonged to 
the investing army of Metz since the 3rd of September, received 
the mission of occupying Oh3,lous and Rheims, in order to secure 
the lines of communication of the German army before Paris, and 
to take Touly which barred the railroad to Paris. 

The Grand Duke divided his Corps; the 2nd Landwehr Division 
was directed upon ChUlons, the 17th Infantry Division, reinforced 
by almost the whole of the Artillery Corps, and the 18th Dragoons 
and 11th Uhlans (two light reserve batteries and the 17th Dragoons 
followed the Landwehr) marched upon Toul, and arrived in their 
cantonments round the fortress on the evening of the 12th. 

Information was obtained by means of reconnaissances, that 
Toul could certainly not be taken by a coup de mam, on account 
of its wet ditches and high walls, but that it could be bombarded 
with a prospect of success. 

At present there were no heavy guns at hand, (with the 
exception of some French guns taken at Marsal, which, as yet, 
the artillery did not rightly understand how to use), and these had to 
be waited for, from Cologne and Magdeburg. The Grand Duke 


gave over the command to General vofi Scktmmelmann ^ and 
repaired to the chief-head-qnai'ters, by command of the King. 

Up to the 19th of September, the attack was limited to a 
close investment, and an occasional bombardment from field gnns. 
On this day, the 33rd Infantry Brigade, the Uhlan Regiment 
and three light batteries were moved to Ch&lons. 

The expected siege gnus arrived on the following day, and 
on the morning of the 23rd, the construction and equipment of the 
batteries had been completed. The Grand Duke was again present 
at the bombardment. ^ 

At 4 o'clock in the afternoon, the white flag appeared on one 
of the towers of the beautiful cathedral, after the fire from the 
fortress had been tolerably brisk during the day, and the suburb 
of Mansuy as well as the village of St. Evre, both of which were 
occupied by the investing troops^ had been set on fire. 

The capitulation, as was the case with almost all the fortresses, 
was based upon the capitulation of Sedan. With the fortress, 
109 ofticera, 2240 men, 120 horses, 1 Garde Mobile eagle, 197 
bronze guns including 48 rifled, considerable stores of arms, equip- 
ment and clothing, ns well as large magazines of provisions and 
forage, fell into the hands of the Germans. 


The conquest of Sois$ons likewise fell to the charge of the 
Grand Duke of Mecklenburg's Corps; this fortress lay so near to 
Paris, and was so dangerous to the investing army, besides being 
of much importance as a point of obstruction on the railroad from 
Rheims to Paris, that its capture was necessary. 

The present fortifications of Soissons are of quite a late date, 
— since 1840; they consist of a circumvallation of bastions, a 
strong earth rampart with high escarp walls, ravelins and several 
advanced horn works. The ditches are dry, but still the west 
front had been inundated by damming the Aisne. 

The garrison amounted to about 4800 men, and the equipment 
consisted of 128 guns. 


The Siege Corps was formed of the 8rd Landwehr Div- 
ision, four companies of Siege Artillery, and two companies of 
Pioneers; it brought 10 rifled 24-ponnders, 16 rifled 12'pounders, 
6 7pound mortars, 2 35 centimetre French mortal's, and 4 22 cen- 
timetre French mortars, besides two field batteiies. 

The siege batteries were erected partly upon the hill of Vaux, 
about 2000 paces from the enceinte, and partly upon the hill of 
6enevi6re, at a distance of about 3000 paces. The mortars were 
placed further to the front^ behind the railroad embankment. 

The preparations were finished on the 12th of October, and 
the bombardment commenced, combined with an efifbrt to make a 
breach in the front lying opposite the hill of Vaox. In case the 
bombardment did not effect the purpose quickly,- an assault was 
to be attempted. 

The fire of the fortress was very well directed ; it was aimed 
at the right points for disturbing the work, even during the con- 
struction of the batteries, and after that, replied very energetically 
to the bombardment. On the firdt day too, the fortress had the 
upper hand in the cannon fight; it succeeded in dismounting two 
of the enemy's guns , whilst the besiegers only accomplished the 
ignition of some fires in the town. 

On the following day, however, the besiegers succeeded in 
gaining the advantage, and a breaching fire was begun. On the 
14th of October, in the evening, most of the ban*elled guiis of 
the fortress were silenced, and a breach was also efl^ected. The fires 
in the town could no longer be extinguished. Neveiiheless the 
garrison continued the mortar fire, from behind the ramparts, with 
great obstinacy. 

But on the 15th of October, at 8 o'clock p.m., the commandant, 
urged by the inhabitants, and disquieted by signs of demoralization 
in a portiiMi of his troops, commenced, negotiations, which led to 
the conduHon of a capitulation, in the course 0f the night. 

The 6i*and Duke moved in on the 16th; 4633 prieioners 
were made, and 128 guns and great depots and magazines wei'e 



After the attack of the Meuse Army upon f^erdun (v. 
Chapter 6.) during their marcli, had proved abortive ^ and this 
fortress had, for. a long time, been a cause of disturbance to the 
investing troops before Mete, and to the Ikies of communication of 
the German Army in the west, the observation of the place wa« 
changed, on the 25tli of September, into a dose investment, and a 
bombardment was projected. 

The Meuse flows through .Verdun, it is surrounded by a cir- 
cumvallation of bastions, and has a citadel. The fortress is com- 
manded by heights, on all sides, at the distance of about 3000 
paces. The garrison amounted to about 4000 men with 137 guns. 

A provisional bombardment with field guns having failed, 
just as it had already done on the 23rd of August, it became 
necessary to wait for the arrival of the siege guns. 

These did not make their appearance until the 12th of October, 
and had, for the most part, been captured in Toul; they were 
however, French guns throughout, — 14 rifled 24-pounder6, 24 
rifled 12-pounder6, 4 22centim^tre mortars and 4 22centim^tre 
howitzers; only two Prussian reserve batteries besides the French 
material, were at hand, — 12 rifled 6-pounder8, with which the 
fruitless bombardment had been made. The besiegers made pre- 
parations for the cannon attack, with an equal number of guns 
on both sides of the Meuse; they took possession of the heights 
of Belleville upon the right bank, and of Thierville on the left 
bank, drove the French out of the villages lying in front, and in 
the night of the 12th, constructed all the batteries, at a distance of 
about 3000 paces. The bombardment began on the following morning. 

The construction of these batteries had, however, been too 
hurriedly performed; the battery of 8 rifled 24-pounder8, which 
was to make the breach, was erected on the ridge of the height of 
Belleville, in such a manner that it could be plainly seen and 
was greatly exposed. There was also a scarcity of ammunition, 
so that some had to be manufactui*ed during the night; added to 
which, the serving troops were quite unacquainted with the 
French guns. 


' The fire was thus opened with very unfavourable prospects, 
and led to no satisfactory result. 

The gaiTison replied by a well aimed , efileacioas fire, dis- 
mounted several guns and inflicted severe losses upon the troops, 
particularly those of the breaching battery, and finally attained 
a decided superiority; although some fires had broken out in the 
fortress and some guns had been dismounted on the ramparts. 

Towards evening on the 15th of October, the German batteries 
became silent from want of ammunition, and from this moment the 
siege again clianged into an investment. 

The garrison, which, shortly before the cessation of the bom- 
bardment, had already decided to capitulate, now again took 
courage, and in a short time made a powerful sortie, in which 
it succeeded, under cover of night, in penetrating into the 
enemy's batt^ies and spiking some of the guns. 

Nevertheless on the 8th of November they surrendered, after a 
cfNMiderable siege train had been provided from Metz, which place 
had^ in the meantime, fallen into German hands. 

The fortress capitulated with about 4000 men, 2 generals 
and 161 officers, 136 guns, 23,000 rifles and considerable stock 
of war material of different descriptions. 


The fortress of La FerCy lying on the left bank of the Oise, 
between that river and the Serre, next eame into question; an 
army far the relief of Paris, having been organized to the north 
of that city, it was important to deprive it of this point of appui. 
La F^re lay in the radius of the French Northern Army, which 
made an attempt to relieve it on the 20th of November, and, as a 
rallying point for the Francs -tireurs, was a troublesome neigh- 
bourhood to Soissons and the surrounding counti*y, now occupied 
by the Germans. 

The foiiress is not large, it had a garrison of 2000 men, 
including the Gardes Mobiles and Francs - tireurs, and was equipped 


with about 70 guns. Its main strength lay in the considerable 
inundations y which however were so far disadvantageous to its 
capabilities ofa*esistance that the water penetrated into the cellars 
and ground floors of the low-lying town, so that the inhabitants 
could find no shelter during the bombardment. 

La F^re was unable to resist a serious bombardment, and the 
commandant was so much convinced of this, that before the invest* 
ment began, he determined to save all the aitillery material by 
sending it off to Lille. The inhabitants, however, opposed this, 
and effected the i*elief of the commandant by an officer of marines, 
who declared that the fortress would hold out until its last 

In the night of the 24th of November, the besiegers brought 
into position to the west of the fortress, at a distance of about 
2000 paces,* 8 rified 24-ponnders, 12 rifled 12-pouiiders, 6 rifled 
6-pounders and 6 mortars ; these silenced tlie guns of the fortress, 
even on the fii*»t day, ignited fires in the town, and on the 26th 
effected the capitulationj without having suffered any loss. 


PironnCy lying upon an island in the Somme, Is, similar to 
La F^re, protected by water; this fortress also obtained some im- 
portance in the operations of tlie Northern Armies, and its conqueat 
is woilhy of remark, because it resulted exclusively from the fire 
of captured French guns. 

The garrison of P^ronne, over 3000 men with about 70 guns, 
had brought itself into notice, during the time that part of 
General von Mauteuffel's Army occupied Amiens, by seizing a care- 
lessly returaing railway detachment in Ham] and, in other ways, 
had caused some uneasiness to the German Noiiihern Army. 

In consequence of this the German Artillery commandant of 
the citadel of Amiens, First Lieutenant Schmidt^ prepared a siege 
train, and upon a suggestion of his with respect to the bombard- 
ment of P^roune, was sent out against this fortress, (which had 


been invested for some days)^ on the 30th of December^ with 6 rifled 
12'pounder8y 2 22centimetre mortars and 4 22centim^tre howitzers. 
The French Army nnder General Faidherbe had^ at that time^ been 
obliged to retire from the neighbonrhood of Amiens. 

Lieutenant Schmidt had selected the sonth-western front for 
the attack. The expedition met with considerable difficulties from 
the roads covered with slippery ice upon the hard frozen ground, 
and was .endangered by the ndghbonrhood of Faidherbe^s Army. 

The bombardment began on the morning of the 2nd of January, 
and was carried on for two days with favourable results (the delay 
in Amiens having given the opportunity of becoming acquainted 
with the French guns). Tlien, however, the bombardment had to be 
suspended for a time in consequence of the issue of the battle of 
Bapaume, after whidi both amues retired. The fire was continued 
with three guns only, whilst the remainder were held in readiness 
to drive off. 

After some days, however, the danger disappeared and the 
bombardment began afresh, and led to a capitulation on the 
9th of January 1871, after having lasted altogether seven days. 

The defence of almost all the fcHrtresses was undertaken and 
proseented by the French with praiseworthy courage, and in some 
eases also in an intelligent manner. 

In almost all, the bombardment produced the decisive result, 
it demoralized the garrison through the constant peril of death, 
and moved the inhabitants 1o influence the commandant 

The superior leadership and discipline on the German side, 
the superiority of the Prussian artillery material, the insight and 
energy of the German oUcers always bore away the victory. 




, for 

to be 
tie of 


n tbe 


a and 




The Siege of Pabis. 

The siege of Paris, which resulted in the capitnlation of this 
giant fortress, is, incontestably , one of the greatest military 
spectacles that the world has ever beheld; it was the most im- 
portant event in the development of the whole war. Yet, looking 
at it solely from a military point of view, is not sufficient to 
obtain a correct idea even of the military importance of the event. 
Neither the 'occurrences in Paris, nor the actions of the besiegers 
can be measured by a military scale alone. 

It is the peculiarity of this phase of the war, that not only 
had a complicated political state of power to be taken into ac- 
count, but also perfectly new and unexampled factors of military 
power, and lastly the wavering humours of a large, helpless, ex- 
citable and uncei*tain population. 

Never has a policy had more reason and better opportunity 
for acting with wisdom, than German policy after the overthrow of 
the empire. The problem was solved with incomparable ability, 
and yet, as it was not omniscient, at the end a fault was com- 
mitted which was capable of calling into question tlie fulfilment 
of the peace conditions. In stipulating the conditions of the 
capitulation, neither the disarmament of the National Guard, nor the 
occupation of the city were insisted upon. Thus it was possible 
that an event so incredible as an out-break of civil war in the 
city at last delivered from the enemy, could take place. Certainly — 
who can tell what harm might have resulted from an occupation 
of the city! 



Mindful of its exalted poBition, as the director of a great 
cultivated nation ^ the Prussian Government could not^ from the 
first moment of the siege ^ even when considered as a military 
question y overlook the fact that it was the most beautiful city in 
the world, although a fortress, with which the German arms were 
now concerned. It could not overlook the fact that the population 
of Paris, uniting all the weaknesses and vices of mankind with 
the amiable and estimable qualities of an educated people, was a 
most unusual object for warlike measures, not only on account 
of its multitude but also in regard to its character. 

Paris, the nucleus of unequalled treasures in art and science, 
was the property of the whole world, and what France had 
forgotten in her downfall, great Germany would bear in mind. 

An inextinguishable detestation pursues the destroyer of the 
gi*eat centres of cultivation of mankind; the righteousness, of his 
cause will not, here, protect the conqueror. 

The melancholy occurrences of the civil war, which followed 
the siege by the Germans, have shown to what horrors the con- 
quest of the city Sy storm could lead, and the manner of defence 
that the Parisians were capable of under the circumstances. 

It adds to the honour of Germany, that it did not fall to 
the lot of German troops to carry on the war which became the 
duty of French troops in May and June 1871, through a weak 
and therefore unfortunate government ; and that German troops did 
not contribute to the destruction of the gorgeous, and historically 
notable, buildings of the old, renowned city. 

The conquest of Paris was in the highest degree honourable 
both for the rulers and wamors of Germany ; but for France — it 
has needed the sanguinary horrors of the civil war to make the 
world fbrget, that the defence of Paris against the Germans was 
well adapted to cover the French name with lasting ridicule. For 
four months and a half, half a million of well armed defenders 
of their country allowed themselves to be shut up, in the greatest 
fortress of the world, by 200,000 men, whilst, during the whole 
time, they never ceased congratulating each other upon their heroic 
courage, and threatening the enemy with total destruction. 

In order rightly to appreciate the vastness and multilateral 


natnre of the tasks for the Direction of the German army and 
state, one must first recall the external and interior condition of 
th» great object of operations — Paris. The natural situation of 
the fortress is not particularly favourable, but finds advantages in 
some heights to the east and south-west, for excellently situated, 
commanding outworks, and at other points, is protected from the 
approach of the enemy's siege works, by the course of the Seine 
and Marne, especially so in the west and north-west. Its main 
strength lies in its, quite unusual, proportions, which have the 
effect on the one hand, of making it impossible to attack the 
outer forts, distributed in a circumference of 7 miles (32^5 English 
miles), by a cross fire, but in the front only, and on the other 
hand, of obliging the foe to accumulate extraordinarily large masses 
of troops for a suiTOunding siege. 

(Compare the general map of Paris.) 

There is a double line of fortifications. The town itself and 
part of the suburbs are surrounded by a very strong enceinte^ a 
girdle of fortresses, whose longest diameter, from Porte Point du 
Jour in the south-west, to the outermost point of la Villette in the 
north-east is 1^/g of a mile (about TVs English miles), whilst its 
shortest diameter, a line leading through the intersecting point of 
the Seine (which flows through the enceinte and Paris), in the south- 
east, by the Tuileries to Les Batignolles, is . 1.^5 of a ipile 
(5^2 English miles) in length. 

The enceinte consists of a circumvallation of bastions, with 
masonry escarps, without outer works and without casemates; the 
ditch is 35 feet wide, and can be filled by the Seine. Ninety 
four bastions jut out upon all sides, and enable a concentrated 
fire to be opened upon the assailant. They are distinguished by 
numbers, and run from bastion 1, on the right bank of the Seine, 
at the point where it enters the town, .to bastion 94 on the left 
bank, exactly opposite No. 1. In the interior of the enceinte, a. 
paved military road runs along the whole circumvallation, and 
besides this, a railroad belt, which at tlie same time, unites all 
the lines entering from outside with one another. Thus there is 
the most excellent communication within the enceinte; in a very 



short time, a considerable nnmber of troops can be concentrated 
upon any threatened point. 

The suburbs extend beyond this inner circumvallation , and 
from them, country houses and villages, in unbroken succession 
for a mile (4^/5 English miles) in extent. 

In an outer line of fortifications , a cincture of detached farU 
and redoubts intersects these countless excrescences and satellites 
of the great city. They present the first and strongest resistance 
to the besieger, and although they do not lie sufficiently distant 
from the enceinte, to impede, completely, the efficacy of the new 
guns of the enemy upon the enceinte and beyond, yet they greatly 
limit this efficacy, and at any rate, prevent an immediate attack 
upon the town. They lie partly on hills and partly in the plain ; 
on the eastern, southern and northern sides they lie close together, 
on the west there is only one — but the most important fort. They 
lie connected in such a manner, that no enemy can penetrate 
between, and that any two or three of them, can concentrate their 
fire upon one spot, whilst the assailant finds it impossible to bom-, 
bard a single one from different sides at the same time. 

The outer forts form different groups before the different 
fronts of Paris. 

(Compare the three special maps of the south-west front, the 
east front, and the north front of Paris.) 

The south-west front is distinguished by the Fortress of 
Mont F'alirieny a real fortress in itself, lying farthest towards 
the west, and then by the Forts Issy^ Vanvres^ Montrouge, 
Arcueilj Bie^tre and Ivry. Whilst the fortress upon Mont 
Val^rien is a full mile (4^/5 English miles) ttom the one lying 
nearest to it. Fort Issy — the interval is filled up by a bend of 
the ISeine — , none of the remaining forts are separated from each 
other by more than firom 2600 to 3000 paces, and thus lie so 
near one another, that even after one of them has been destroyed 
by the enemy, he would only be able to advance Anrther under 
the cross fire of the two neighbouring forts. 

In front of these works, however, at a distance of about 
1500 paces, there are hills rising to above 400 feet, which if 
occupied by the besiegers, must greatly imperil the forts by their 


dominating fire. These are the heights of Clamart^ Meudon and 
Chatillou. As the limited time prohibited tlie construction of con- 
siderable works upon these heights^ which, properly; were necessary 
for the security of the south-west front , General Trochn had to 
content himself wit^i simple field entrenchments. Works of this 
description were laid out, before the arrival (tf the enemy , at 
Moulin de la Tour, in front of Chatillon, at the village of 
FtlUt/uify and to the east of Villejnif, at Moulin Saquei. Moreover 
the villages of Villejuif and Vitry sur Seine were placed in a 
state of defence. The very important hill of Montretout above 
St. Cloud; on the other hand, was not fortified — time failed, and 
the labour force of Paris was not properly utilised. To the north 
of Mont Val^rien , however , a t^te de pont was erected for the 
bridge of NeuUly^ and a fortification raised upon the hill of 
SL Ouen. 

The eatt front is the strongest of all; the position of the 
fortifications here^ corresponds exactly with the formation of the 
ridge of heights which stretches from the suburb Belleville; '/| of 
a mile (about 31/3 English miles) outside the enceinte towards the 
east. Towards the north these heights sink down to the canal 
de rOurcq; and in the south; to the Mame. They are occupied 
by a group of forts which command all the. approaches of the 
enemy from ChftlonS; .Troyes and Meluu; as well as the passages 
over the Seine and Mame near the spot where they unite into 
one stream. The most northern of these forts is Rofnatmrille^ 
which lies only 1800 paces from the enceinte; below it; lines of 
entrenchments lead down to the^ eanal de tOurcq, At 2000 
paces to the east of this fort lies Fort Noisyy which is connected 
with Fort Rosny, situated 2600 paces to the south-east, by the 
redoubts of Monireuil and La Boissih'e, Fort Noyent and the 
redoubt of Fontenay situated to the north of it; crown the south- 
eastern extremity of the heights; which commence at BellevillC; 
and lie about 3200 paces south of the most advanced lunette of 
Fort Rosny. 

To the south of this the windings of the MamC; which is 
here 100 paces wide, form a hindrance to an approach; and at 
the spot where the enemy would have the greatest facilities for 


breakiiig through, in the event of his having Boceeeded in csioBBing 
the river at its sonth-eaatem bend^ namely in the defile formed 
by the bends of the river mnning near one another | the road is 
barred by the redoubts of Grm^eUe and La Faumiderie with 
the entrenchments lying between them. Again, 2600 paces from 
the redonbt of Gravelle lies Fori ChareniaUy in the angle between 
the Marne and the Seine, uniting the east front with the lonth- 
west front. Then, in a second line, lies the fortified Chateau 
of FmcenneSj on the east front, 2500 paces from the enceinte. 

Fori St. Denis, Fori Aubervillers and the fortifications 
along the St Denis canal form the north front. The town of 
St Denis lies to the north of Montmartre (which played a part 
at the siege of Paris in the year 1814, bnt is now completely 
taken np by the increasing city, and rises within the enceinte), 
is 4400 paces outside the walls and has three forts: Double 
Couronney de CEst and de la Briche. At a later period, another 
work was erected on the left bank of the Seine, at Fillemeuve 
la Garenne^ in connection with the works of St Denis. Thus 
St. Denis is also a complete fortress in itself, atid very strong; 
the works are all defensively united with one another, and their 
ditches can be uiundated by the stream Rouillon. Fort Auber- 
vlllets, 2400 paces from the most north-easterly point of the 
enceinte, covers Paris on this side, and commands the road to 
Lille, but is a long way from its neighbouring fort — 4400 paces. 
In order to give security to this wide interval, redoubts are erected, 
in a second line, along the canals of St. Denis and de fOurcq. 

All the fof'ts were moreover united with one another, 
before and during the investment, by a running line of en- 

This must be mentioned to the honour of General Chabaud- 
Latour, who directed the great works of fortification. 

Paris is thus surrounded by sixteen forts and, moreover, by 
a multitude of redoubts and ratrenchments , and in its enceinte, 
presents to the besieger, who has been fortunate enough to over- 
come the first obstacles) a very strong line of defence. The forts 
were new, since the year 1840^ very strongly and well btiilt ; that 
of Mont Yal^rien was of extraordinary solidity. They were all 


equipped with guns of the heaviest calibre, partly before and 
paitly during the first stages of the siege. 

The communicaiionsy inside the whole circle of the outermost 
fortifications, are the best, altogether, that can be conceived. The 
ground is interaected in all directions by raiboads, broad, well 
paved or macadamized roads, and these offer the most favourable 
means for collecting a considerable mass of troops, at any spot 
where the defenders may desire, in a comparatively short time. 
The Seine is crossed by a superfluously large number of the flnest 
bridges. Telegraph wires united all the outer forts with the city 
and with each other, and in the city itself there was a telegraphic 
communication between all the important points. All the aids of 
scieilce were at the command of the defebce ; the great mechanical 
establishments, as well as the Urge gun foundries and arm matm- 
factories of the state, were at its service. 

It is also important to observe, that for making sorties Either 
on a small scale or on the largest, with hundreds of thousands, 
no more advantageous formation than that of the fortress of Paris 
can be imagined. Each two foi*ts make an excellent sortie gate, 
and these can prepare for it and support it by the fire of their 
heavy guns. A whole army can, any day, be brought together, 
unseen, inside the enceinte or at many points immediately behind 
the foi*ts, which might break forth between the forts the hext 
morning at dawn, in splendid developinetit, and always be four, 
five or six times superior to an enemy at the given point, who 
has not a whole million of soldiers for the siege* 

Certainly if Mac Mahon had been allowed to lead the army, 
which came to ruin at Sedan, to Paris, the German Army Direc- 
tion would not have been able to carry out the investment of this 
city, and if, instead, of going to the help of Bazaine, he had 
drawn towards Orl^ns, the siege of Paris could not have been 


undertaken at all. 

The forces of France were allied with unexampled misfortune ; 

they were squandered away before the siege of Paris, and trifled 

away whilst it was goiHg on* 

The following active forces were raised for the defence: 
1) a Corps of able, brave men, expert in arms, the sailors 


and marines^ under their educated and intelligent officers. In all 
about 15,000 men. Amongst these regiments of marine infantry, 
General Trochu has drawn attention to the superiority of Nos. 35 
and 42. ii 

2) A mass of soldiers and other state officials^ who were ex- 
perienced in the use of arms, but not organized, and for the most 
part completely demoralized — a real mosaic troop. They were the 
depot battalions of the former Imperial Guard, the troops of the 
Line which General Vinoy had brought away to Paris from 
M^zi^res after the battle of Sedan, and old, time served soldiers, 
who were again called up, with Douaniers and Forestrkeepers of 
all kinds, and ci-devant Sergeants de Ville and Gendarmes. There 
were besides these, the fugitives from previous battles and marches. 
Altogether about 70,000 men. 

3) The Gardes Mobiles from the province, chiefly Bretons 
and Burgundlans; then there were mep from Berry, from Franche 
Gomt^ and Champagne and other provinces, men who probably 
had no clear idea of what a rifle was, especially on the system 
of a Remington, a Chassepot or Martini-Henry ; but who possessed 
patriotism and good physical qualities, and after six weeks of 
judicious training could have furnished an efficient body of men 
under a capable leader. General Trochu estimates their number 
at 100,000. 

4) The Parisian Garde Mobile. This was a corps which 
combined all the bad qualities of the population of a great city 
with the weaknesses of the provincial Gardes Mobiles. These 
Gardes Mobiles had, already, been once attached to the army of 
Chilons, and bad first brought Marshal Canrobert, into a state of 
despair, and then perplexed Marshal MacMahon to such an extent 
that he decided on dispensing with their assistance and sending 
them back to Paris. There might have been 30,000 of them. 

5) The Garde Nationale of Paris. This armed mass was, 
according to Trochu's estimate, only 50,000 men sti*ong at the 
beginning of the siege. In the middle of September a number of 
so called battalions existed, of about 1000 men each, composed . 
of citizens, tradespeople, doctors, lawyers, and officials. They were 
recruited from the mass of those, who followed similar kinds of 


ocoupatioU) in the same quarter of the town^ and who were possessed 
of similar means; — during the siege they reached, on an average, 
a strength of 1200 men. These battalions, to distinguish them 
from those raised later, were called, old battalions. In the other 
quarters of the town, where this regulation did not as yet exist 
(the Government had always suppressed the legal formation of the 
Gardes Nationaux, from fear of revolutions), in the suburbs and 
districts of Belleville and Menilmontant for example, new battalions 
were raised when the siege was threatened, each if which must, 
very quickly, have reached a capitation of about 2000. Altogether, 
in the month of October, the battalions numbered 266, whose 
strength is reckoned by General Trochu at 260,000 men, and by 
other authorities at a higher figure, up to more than 300,000 men. 
Amongst these Gardes Nationaux the best and worst elements were 
to be found recklessly mixed together. Powerful young men stood 
shoulder to shoulder with poi*tly elderly gentlemen; men with 
patriotic enthusiasm stood in the same rank with the most timid 
egotists. Highly educated men, who, even when pampered by an 
over-refined life always show themselves of moral courage and 
great service in battle, were interBpei*sed in a battalion with men 
who stood far below them mentally, and who could in no way 
make up for their want of military capability. 

At the commencement there was absolutely, no selection, no 
division according to age or the good will of the men, and when 
it was desired to begin this it was already too late. 

The equipment of the army was very heterogeneous, still, 
thanks to the active manufacture of arms, all the combatants were 
supplied with good rifles in the course of a few weeks, and finally, 
the artillery also, with numerous guns. Certainly the only arm 
which the Parisians, with some exceptions, understood how to 
serve ^ during this siege, was the stomachy which was contented 
with unusually frugal fare. On the whole an enormous material 
presented itself, the most part of which certainly, remained unem- 
ployed, but from which an able general might surely have pro- 
duced a serviceable army of 200,000 men, and from which a 
leader of genius, capable of carrying the masses along with hiin, 


might have nised a formidable army for andertakings on the spnr 
of the moment. 

The Commander in Chief of this entire army, abont half a 
million of men, had however — and this is the most prominent 
of all the peculiarities of the defence of Paris — far more deference 
for his own army than for the enemy; or rather, he possessed a 
well grounded respect for the enemy, but his fear of an enieuie 
in his own troops was so great, that he allowed his regard for 
the enemy to give place entirely to his anxiety for internal qnlet ; 
he arranged little upon his own initiative, but, in most of his 
acts, allowed himself to be driven by the population — the 
Garde Nationals 

General Trochu was a very unfit Commander in Chief for 
such forces. A soldier of scientific eduoation, experienced and 
sensible, he possessed just sufficient penetration to see clearly, all 
the defects of his army, but had not the energy and talent to 
obviate these defects and to bring the strong side of it into 

It may be assumed that, throughout. General Troehu did not 
deceive himself. He was completely convinced that the fate of 
the capital, of which he was the governor, depended solely, upon 
what measures the Germans would or could take. If the German 
army in pursuit of General Vinoy's defeated troops, had passed the 
outer line of forts on the 19th of September, suddenly taken the 
enceinte by storm, and appeared before the Hotel de Ville on the 
first day of the siege. General Trochu would have been one of 
those , least surprised , at such a rapid solution of the affair. . If 
the German army had destroyed some forts in the first four weeks, 
and then undertaken the assault. General Trochu could not have 
prevented it. 

As however the Germans took a diflferent and a wiser coarse, 
which led to peace as well as to the capture of the city, he was 
filled with amazement at the enemy, and at the same time with 
satisfaction in regard to his own situation. General Troehu was 
an actor from the first day of the siege to the last, and was 
obliged to be so in order to retain his position. 

But why had be undertaken such a post? 


He thought that he was as well- able to fill it as any one 
else, and to perform his duty as a patriot. 

Having fallen oat of favour, on account of his work on the 
French army in 1867, and being an object of suspicion to the 
Court as an Orleanist in spite of his service in Italy and Africa, 
he had received an insignificant appointment at the beginning of 
the war, and only on the formation of the 12th Army Owps had 
he been named its commander, and on the 17th of August, 
Governor of Paris. 

The General has given extensive ea^lanaiions, *in the sittings 
of the National Assembly on the Idth and 14th of June 1871, 
as to his personal position both with regard to the political and 
military situation of France, some points of which will be found of 
interest here. The General affirms, thstt even before the French 
defeats at Mete, he had pointed out to the Emperor Napoleon, the 
necessity of a rapid retreat of the whole army upon Pai*is, that 
his motion was approved of in the council of wai*, but that advices 
from Paris had prevented the retreat fte*om being carried out. 

Later, at another council of war, presided over by the Em- 
peror, he was appointed Governor of Paris with the charge of 
announcing and preparing for the Emperor^s arrival there. He ae- 
ceptedj but only on the condition that Mac Mahon should lead 
his army to Paris. He, Trochu, was to-be named Commander in 
Chief of all the forces, whilst the Emperor himself would resume 
the reins of government. 

On hifi arrival in Paris, he was however, received with great 
distrust by the Empress Regent, who declared that t^e plan of 
the retreat upon Paris was quite altered. She asserted that the 
Emperor was not coming to Paris, but would remain in Chd.lons; 
Trochu might defend Paris without the Emperor. 

Conti*ary to his own conviction, he, yet, accepted out of 
loyalty and composed a proclamation beginning : ^I come as Governor 
of Paris, appointed by the Emperor, with the charge of pro- 
claiming a state of siege.^ 

The Empress wished to have the Emperor's name removed 
from the proclamation, and in spite of his resistance, insisted upon 
this alteration. 


• • 

The war miiuBter^ Count Palikao, had received him no better 
than the Regent ^ and even declared to him that his arrival 
fmstrated all the well prepared measmres for the defence. (Trochu 
had become a favourite with the opposition ^ rince the Imperial 
Government had slighted him.) 

On the night of the drd of September he had learnt , from 
an officer in the street , the news of the capitulation of Sedaii^ 
and General Soumain had afterwards given him proof that^ un- 
beknown to him, General Palikao had been placed ov^ Mac Blahon's 
army and also over that of Paris. His counsels were only met 
with mistrust both by the Empress and the Minister, Palikao, and 
the latter had broken off all business relations with him. 

From this moment, his efforts were only directed towards the 
defence of the legislature against the seditious multitude. Summoned 
to take part in the government now forming at the Hotel de Ville, 
he had undertaken the Presidency. 

In regard to the defence of Paris, Trochu then gives the 
following explanation: ^On the 5th of September, my colleagues 
Jules Favre and Picard, requii*ed me to state what deterred me 
from the undertaking ; I answered that every fortified place, which 
is not supported by an external army, falls into the ^emy's 
power; that Paris, with her emotions, would be subject to this 
axiom more than any other town ; and consequently, since an army 
no longer existed, we should be uniting in an heroic folly. But, 
I added, this heroic folly is necessary, to save the honour of 
France, and to give time to the amazed world to recover. — 
I confess that I counted upon America's remembering Lafayette's 
comrades, England those of Inkerman and Italy those of Solferino." 

Trochu further says : ^The chief difficulty was to make people 
believe in the siege of Paris. It was declared that the enclosing 
was impossible, or maintained that, if it were possible, the city 
would not hold out for fourteen days. I myself only believed 
in a resistance of 60 days ..... The fortifications of Paris 
were made for another description of artillery, and for other rifles. 
Everything had to be made anew ". 

Upon the sul^ect of the German lines of fortification, Trochu 
said : "The Prussian works are the strongest that have ever been 


made. I thank heaven, that I possessed the firmness to withstand 
those who would have foi'ced me to make an attack npon them. 
Had I led my troops out beyond the first line they would have 
been lost. It is a consolation to me that numerous families have 
been spared this misfortune. Recollect gentlemen, the exertions 
of the insurgents; facts have proved the value of the defensive 
positions which covered Versailles.'' 

In the further course of his speech, Trochu related how he 
had followed the plan, projected by General Ducrot, of making a 
sortie on a large scale from the peninsula Gennevilliers in the 
direction of Rouen, for the purpose of forming a junction with the 
Lille Army. 

Gambetta's opposition had frustrated this plan. ^Gambetta 
possessed considerable patriotism, but two innate faults. He thought 
that , * after having called up all the strength of the country , he 
must transfer the guidance of it exclusively to the men of a certain 
party, and then he was involved in the military traditions of 
1792, and believed it possible to fight with undrilled masses against 
organized armies. That this was not the case, even at that time, 
is attested by the memoirs of Dumouriez.'^ 

General Trochu's further explanations also prove that tlie 
measures which he took, especially the sorties, were forced upon 
him against his better conviction, partly by the population of 
Paris, and partly by Gambetta. 

'*More than twenty times", declared the General, ^'I was on 
the point of sending in my resignation; I did not do so, I swal- 
lowed the most cruelly bitter words, because I looked upon it as 
an act of cowardice to resign." 

For the German Direction, on the other hand, the problem 
of the conquest of Paris, was combined with very many considera- 
tions of the most diverse kinds. 

The attainment of a favourable and secure peace was and 
continued to be the main point. The capture of Paris was 
important, for it was anticipated that it uiould brifig on the 
peace, only Paris must be the capture of Paris ^ that is, of 
the seat of the government and of prevailing influence upon 
the whole country. 


Further, PariB, when captured^ must be really and uneoiidi- 
tionally in the hands of the conqneror, completely aubjeoted^ in- 
clined for peace^ and disposing the provinces to peace. 

In the event of Paris overthrowing the government of the 
National Defence^ of anarchy breaking out in the city, or of the 
German aimy taking a city in which daily disturbances had to be 
suppressed — in these very possible cases Paris^ had not the high 
value which the price of its difficult conquest must entail. For 
under these circumstances, quite apart from the great sacrifices in 
human life, it was to be feared that a new government would be 
formed in the provinces, or, above all, that no government would 
be established, with which peace conld be conclnded, and lastiy^ 
that the provinces would be encouraged to make a longer resistance, 
by the permanent disturbances in Paris. 

Although, therefore, the government of the 4th of September 
was by no means legitimate, and indeed could not even claim the 
authority of a municipal government, still the Chancellor of the 
Confederation, whilst the investment was being completed, entered 
into negotiations about an armistice with the delegate of this 
government, Jules Favre, the minister of Foreign Affairs (v. page 289) 
which might be looked upon as a preliminary to' peace ; and always 
having in view the attainment of a legitimate peace as quickly as 
possible, he proposed the mildest conditions whicb^ altogether, could 
be offered. Even after tliese negotiations had been broken off, the 
German government did not decline to recognise the Parisian 
government. ' 

This government^ bad as it was, must be protected, on the 
part of the Germans as if it were a real treasure, for it was 
foreseen that after its overtlu*ow one still worse might spring up. It 
needed but a. trifling diffienUy in order to put into its place the 
dominion of a class of people, whose existence and aims were 
evidently better known to Count Bismarck than to the French 
government itself. The negotiations between the Chancellor of the 
Confederation and the French Minister leave no doubt about this, 
and it is a wonderful fact that the Frenchman displayed indignation 
instead .of grateful intelligence. 

Moreover, at the siege of the city, the German Army Direction 


acted consistently with the end in view, that it was necessary 
to bring the population to recognise their need of peace. The 
thorough hopelessness of resistance , was dearly placed before 
them by evidence^ time was given them to weigh the circumstances 
(»l9ily, and everything that could unnecessarily excite or exasperate 
them was avoided. That this wise moderation, nevertheless, did 
not spare the great city the horrors of a most rigid siege and of a 
bombardment, and that the defence against the external foe was 
followed by the most sanguinary civil wai*, is entirely the fault 
of the inhabitants; the result of the frivolity, pride and complete 
want of political and military intelligence in this people, who 
•Jiad been so badly governed for centuries. 

Considered also from the narrower military point of view, 
the intended conquest of Paris presented very great difficulties. 
After the battle of Sedan an army of about 240,000 men was 
disposable for the siege, no great number for a fortress whose 
outer forts form a cordon 7 miles (32 ^'5 English miles) in length. 
Besides which, it was known that a new French army was being 
formed on the Loire, of little importance at first, but in any case 
worthy of consideration* 

It was perfectly welV known in the German head-quai*ters, 
that the works of the fortress were incompletely equipped and in 
bad condition, and that the defence, was as yet by no means 
organized; so tbat there were some chances for a surprisal. But 
an attack by force would certainly have cost very heavy sacrifices, 
and then, the success of an attack by surprise could by no means 
be reckoned on beforehand, and consequently was not thought of by 
German Generalship. In any case an attack by force would have 
been at variance with the fundamental idea of the German Army 
Direction and policy^ 

In siege operations , another way . of quickly attaining the 
object, is by a bombardment This also was not practicable at 
once,, in the present case. The city, it is true, could be readied 
by heavy guns from several points. A bombardment of Paris, 
however, would have very small effect, unless caiTied out by a 
very great number of guns, as experience proved later, and as 
had been rightly judged at head -quarters beforehand. The chief effect 


of a bombftrdment is Gonflagratioii ^ but not only Ib the city bo 
enonnously Urge that the Bhells and shot from' rifled ganiy must 
be too widely distribntedy bat the hooBes are also built, with Bach 
solidity that only very inconsiderable damage coald be caused by 
the shot, and ignitions only exceptionally produced. A shot, which 
in Strasborg would have thrown down a whole house, in Paris, 
that combination of colossal stones, knocked a hole in the wall, 
or fell through the root and a couple of floors, destroying some 
furniture but without injuring the stability of the house. There- 
fore, for a bombardment of any importance, such a large park of 
guns was necessary, that several months must elapse before it 
could be procured. 

To provide this, however, and the ammunition, necessary for 
a protracted bombardment, such an enormous transport material 
was required that the army supplies might have suffered in con- 

In order to judge of the difficulties caused by this alone, one 
must consider that the investing army required on an average daily: 
150,000 3lb. loaves, 1000 cwt. of rice and barley, 600 oxen, 
that is, their weight in meat or bacon, 150 cwt. of salt, 28^000 
quarts of brandy ; in forage, 10,000 cwt. of oats and 24,000 cwt. 
of hay; and that there was a monthly consumption of about 
1000 cwt. of tobacco and 12 millions of cigars. 

Thu9 it was, that it being desirable to spare the troops 
as much as possible, and at the same time only to destroy 
Paris in case of the most urgent necessity, nothing remained 
but the slow expedient of the investment^ with eventually the 
regular siege. 

Astonishment has frequently been expressed, even by those 
who understand the subject, that the engineer and artillery attack 
was so long deferred, and it has been said that even if the 
general attack was necessai'ily delayed through difficulties recognised 
on all sides, still that an attack upon some one single point 
might have led to the rupture of the line of fortifications far 
earlier than it actually took place. It is, no doubt, probable, that 
after six weeks) sufficient siege material could have been at hand 
for a successful attack, for instance, upon Forts Issy, Vanvres, and 


Montrouge, or even St. Denis. Siege guns were on the spot as 
early as the middle of October. It may also be assumed that the 
forts would have succumbed to the attack some weeks later, so 
that, consequently, the enceinte might have been attacked about 
the middle of November. It is however, very gi'eatly to be 
questioned, whether any considerable advantage would thus have 
been gained towards the attainment of the final aim. Strong 
sallies would, shortly, have been directed against the threatened 
point, which, in any case, would have exacted many victims. 
Then, however, even after a successful assault and considerable 
sacrifices, there was still the risk of encountering long continued 
street fighting and gi'eat destruction, the very evils which it was 
desirable to avoid. If only some of the forts had been taken, or 
perhaps the town of St. Denis , then the attack by storm would 
have to be decided upon. To stop half way was out of the 

The other eoppedient led far more surely^ and with fewer 
losses y to the object — that of first conquering the population 
morally y and then of bringing on a capitulation by threatening 
the city generally. 

Investment J with starvation for its object ^ had plainly a 
great prospect of success at Paris, contrasted with the disadvantages 
of the other means of attack. 

But even this way presented considerable difficulties. The 
army appointed for the investment, must be sufficiently strong to 
oppose all soiiiies. The cincture of the investing corps must be 
between 9 and 10 miles (41 to 46 E. m.) in length, so that the 
troops should not be placed immediately under the guns of the forts ; 
that is, about 22,000 men of the investing troops to each mile 
(4'*/5 E. m.), consequently a very small number. If the investment 
lasted sufficiently long for the Paris troops to be formed into a 
serviceable army, the position of the investing troops would become 
very hazardous. The Parisians could have no difficulty in attacking 
any point they might choose with a fourfold, or still greater 
superiority in forces. It was anticipated however that Paris would 
be unable to endure, for long, a rigidly carried out investment. Cut 
off from all intercourse with the outer world and deprived of its 



supply of pTovisioius, it was generally believed that the luxurious 
city would very soon capitulate. Even in the German head-quarters^ 
it was probably not expected that four and a half months resistance 
in privation, would be encountered from the spoilt , excitable, 
swayed - by - every - wind , unstable foe. 

But in this respect Paris deceived all expectation. Injured 
vanityj scorn of the ^barbarians^^ and fear^ were so strong^ 
that in spite of all the hunger and misert/y one day after 
another of passive resistance parsed away^ until a series of 
months was gone. 


After the news of the* capitulation of Sedan had spread in 
Paris, after the first panic had been overcome; then after some 
days had been uselessly spent in general rejoicings on account of 
the republic of the 4th of September, the city set to work, in 
anticipation of the enemy's approach, to prepare for a lengthened 
siege, and engaged with renewed zeal in laying in provisions and 
in the equipment of the fortifications. 

The accumulation of the necessaries of life for Paris was 
an immense task, and it was accomplished in a surprisingly grand 
way, which does great honour to the Imperial minister of com- 
merce, Clement Duvemois, who had been occupied with it as a 
precautionary measure since the first defeats of the army. 

The new republican government carried on successfully, the 
work which had been begun. 

The whole population of Paris had been raised by the fugitives 
from the neighbourhood, and the Gardes Mobiles, to a capitation 
of about 2,400,000. During the siege this mass of human beings 
needed in bulk the following quantities^): 

*y According to a calculation by A. Emminghaus, which is based upon 
the statistical estimates ofHusson's work **La consommation de Paris'' 1856 
and upon the ,, Journal des ^^onomistes'S 


' Meat 
and cut up for sale 

PigB . 



Food for these animals, in hay 

Oats . 


Or the whole value in hay 

Salt . 





Olive oil 

Beer . 



156,000,000 Kilogr. 

32,796,000 - 

8,189,000 - 

75,431 head 

148,876 - 

60,672 - 

75,021 - 

63,636,365 Kilogr. 

21,943,642 - 

44,062,330 - 

12,267,537 - 

133,764,708 - 

6,072,000 - 

6,912,000 - 

8,786,400 Kilogr. 

1,342,000 - 

427,200 Litres 

16,240,800 - 

164,208,000 - 

5,640,000 - 

A great quantity of other provisions, however, of which no 
calculation can be made, are not here included, such as milk, 
fowls, salt fish, fresh water fish, oysters, ice, and especially such 
voluminous edibles as vegetables and potatoes (those mentioned 
above, were as food for animals), which Paris requires in large 
quantities under ordinary circumstances; therefore as these articles, 
with the exception of milk, could not be procured afresh, and very 
soon ceased to be in store, a still greater need of the above 
mentioned articles becomes evident. In horses, for example, it is 
certain that during the siege a far greater number were consumed, 
and the corresponding amount of hay, oats and straw in hand 
would be far greater. 

The bulk of fuel consumed has not been reckoned. 

A Paris newspaper of the 4th of October gives the following 
official list of the provisions then in hand: 

^In the different parks of the capital, as the Bois de Boulogne, 



Luxembourg^ and others, there are about 220,000 sheep, 40,000 
oxen, and 12,000 pigs. 

"In flour, Paris has a store of 300,000 cwt., besides the 
supplies at the bakers, which are estimated at 200,000 cwt. 

''There are from 30,000 to 40,000 cwt. of salt and preserved 
meat, and a considerable amount of salt fish; lastly, an enormous 
supply of salt, 100,000 cwt. of rice, and 10,000 cwt. of ooifee, 
irrespective of all the other different products which are in the 
warehouses and shops*)." 

The beautiful parks, in which large lierds of animals were 
collected, presented a remarkable spectacle, but the cattle soon 
suffered greatly for want of proper care. Another remarkable 
sight was presented by the public buildings, the stations, halls, 
theatres, and above all the newly erected opera-house in marble 
and gold, filled from cellar to roof with sacks of flour, grain, 
potatoes and barrels of wine, the corridors and gi'een rooms arranged 
as kitchens and offices, and the amphitheatres as hospitals. 

The second question was the fortifications. 

In what manner they were increased and strengthened under 
the direction of General Trochu has already been mentioned. The 
last weeks of August and the first half of September were really 
well employed in the erection of these new works, and from this 
time forth, they were continued diligently. 

But the equipment of all the works, also, required great 
activity, and an enormous material. Neither failed. 

The arsenals of Paris and Vineennes were emptied, and every 
gun, even the old trophies from the Invalides, were conveyed to 

*) These estimates differ very much from the former calculation. The 
number of sheep is much greater, that of oxen and pigs, much smaller. 
Yet it may be assumed that a great number of animals, of the two last 
kinds, were at the batchers. 

The French estimate of the store of flour, shows only one sixth of the 
quantity above reckoned , but quotes , on the other hand , considerable 
quantities of rice. 

All calculation is difBcult, because private families and tradespeople 
naturally provided stores on their own account; still A. £mminghaus' estimate 
is valuable, because it is based upon well founded scientific investigations, 
into the actual requisites for the maintenance of life. 


the ramparts; from Havre all the heavy guns of the fleet were 
brought to Paris by the Seine, and the equipment of the forts 
and of the enceinte was gradually completed. The fortress of 
Mont Val^jfien carried 79 guns (amongst whieh were some giant 
cannon such as the Valerie, and the Josephine), Fort Issy 64, 
Vanvres 45, Montrouge 43, Bicetre 40, Ivry 70, Vincennes 117, 
Charenton 70, Nogent 53, Rosny 56, Noisy 57, Romainville 49, 
Aubervillers 66, de TEst 52, and de la Briehe 61 guns. 

Altogether at the end of October, in all the fortifications, 
2000 guns were to be found. 

In order to carry out the preparations, which necessarily 
precede the defence of every fortress, exertions were made to 
clear the glacis in order to procure free play for the guns. These 
efforts led to a terrible devastation all round the city, without 
gaining their object, in consequence of the great number of thickly 
dotted villages, villas, chateaux, parks and woods. It was in. vain 
that the axe and fire raged in the charming woods ot Boulogne, 
Vincennes, Bondy and Meudon ; the fire would not ignite the wood 
which was full of sap, and the axe was paralyzed. It was impos- 
sible to tear down the countless villages and country seats ; these 
formerly favourite spots of the Parisians, and of all strangers visiting 
Paris, were in too great abundance. But all . the inhabitants were 
forced to leave their possessions, and numberless families had their 
happiness and property unnecessarily destroyed. 

In the interior, the army for the defence was organized. The 
defence of the enceinte, and the security of public tranquillity, were 
consigned to the Garde Nationale, which formed the First Army. 
A Second Army was formed out of the regular troops and Gardes 
Mobiles for the purpose of making sorties; and a Third Army of 
the regular troops and sailors, was organized for the defence of 
the forts*). ^ 

*) This distribution, certainly, did not come into full effect until the 
beginning of November ; as however, an analogous employment of the different 
kinds of troops took place from the beginning, the order of battle, which 
was only given out later, here follows, in order that it may be more easily 
comprehended f ' 



Commander in Chief| General Trochu. 

Chief of the Staff, General Schmitz, 

Deputy Chief of the Staff, General Foy. 

Commander of the Artillery, General Guiod. 

Chief of the Engineers, General de Chabaud-Latour. 

Intendant General, General Wolff. 


Chief Commandant, in September and October, General 

Tamissier^ from November, General Thomas. 
Chief of the Staff, Colonel Montagut. 
Commandant of the Cavalry Legion, Colonel Qnielet. 
Commandant of Artillery, Colonel 8ch5lcher. 
This army consisted of 266 (according to other authorities 
276) battalions and finally numbered 300,000 men. 


Chief Commandant, General DucroU 

Chief of the Staff, General Appert. 

Deputy Chief of the Staff, Lieutenant Colonel Warnet. 

Commandant of Artillery, General Fr^bault. 

Commandant of Engineers, General Tripier. 

First Army Corps: General Fmoy. Chief of the Staff, 
General de Valdan. Commandant of Artillery, General d'Ubexi. 
Commandant of Engineers, General du Pouet. 

1st Division: General Mabray. 1st Brigade: General Mar- 
tenot. 2nd Brigade: General Paturel, 

2nd Division: General de Maud^huy. 1st Brigade (Garde 
Mobile from the provinces): Colonel Valentin. 2nd Brigade: 
General Blaise. 

3rd Division: General Blanchard. 1st Brigade (Garde 
Mobile from the provinces) : Colonel Comte. 2nd Brigade : 
General de Mariouse. 

Second Army Corps: General Renauld. Chief of the 


Staff, General Ferri-Rsani. Commandant of Artillery ^ General 
Boissonnet. Commandant of Engineers, Colonel Corbin. 

1st Division: General Susbielle, 1st Brigade: Colonel Bonnet. 
2nd Brigade : General Lecomte. 

2nd Division: General Berthaut. 1st Brigade: General 
Bocher. 2nd Brigade: Colonel Boutier. 

3rd Division: General de Maussion. 1st Brigade: General 
Courty. 2nd Brigade: General Avill de Lanclos. 

Third Army Corps: General dExea. Chief of the Staff, 
Colonel de Belgaric. Commandant of Artillery , General Princeteau. 
Commandant of Engineers, Colonel Ragon. 

1st Division: General de Bellemare. 1st Brigade: Colonel 
Foum^s. 2nd Brigade: Colonel Colomien. 

2nd Division: General MattaL 1st Brigade (Garde Mobile 
from the provinces): General Faron. 2nd Brigade: General Daudel. 

Cavalry Division: General de Champeron. 1st Brigade: 
General de Gerbrois. 2nd Brigade : General Consin. Regiment of 
monnted Gendarmes: Colonel AUaveine. 

In November this army numbered 120,000 men, with 80 field 
and mitrailleuse batteries. 


(under the special command of General Trocku). 

1st Division: General Soumatn. Chief of the Staff: Lieut. 
Colonel Pdchin. 1st Brigade: General DargentoUe. 2nd Brigade: 
General de Chassi^re. 

2nd Division: Vice Admiral de la Rondure, 1st Brigade: 
Colonel Lavoignet 2nd Brigade: Colonel Haurion. 3rd Brigade: 
Captain of Frigate, Lamotte Tenet. 

3rd Division: General de Lmiers. Chief of the Staff: Major 
Morlaincourt. 1st Brigade: Colonel Filhol de Camas. 2nd Brigade: 
Colonel de Chamberet. 

4th Division: General de Beaufort. Chief of the Staff: 
Major Lecoy. 1st Brigade: General Dumoulin. 2nd Brigade: 
Captain of Frigate, d'Andr^, 



5th Division : General . Correard, Chief of the Staff: Major 
Vial. 1st Brigade: Gplonei Champion. 2nd Brigade: Colonel 

6th Division: General (tHugueg. Chief of the Staff: Major 
d'EUoy. 1st Brigade: Captain of Frigate, de Bray. 2nd Brigade: 
Colonel Bro. 

7th Division: Bear Admiral Pothuau. 1st Brigade: Lieut. 
Colonel Le Mains. 2nd Brigade: Naval Captain Salmon. 

Cavalry: Ist Brigade: General de Bemis. 2nd Brigade: 
Lieut. Colonel Blondel. 

The strength of this army was 80,000 men. 

In the month of September this distribution was only pro- 
ceeding gradually. It had probably gone through many ohauges, 
as the opinions upon the warlike capacity of the different corps 
were altered affcer the first fights in September. This is shown 
by one of General Trochu's ordera on the 11th of September, in 
accordance with which the Garde Mobile of Paris was divided in 
the following manner: 

1st Division : General de Liniers (Head-Quarters in the Elysee). 
Battalions of the arrondissements 8, 9, 16 and 17. 

2nd Division : General de Beaufort d'Hautponl (Head-Qnaiiiers 
in the Palais Royal). Battalions of the arrondissements 1, 2, 9 
and 18. 

3rd Division: General Berthaut (Head-Quarters in the Con- 
servatoire de Tart et de Tindustrie). Battalions of the arron- 
dissements 3, 4, 10, li, 12, 19 and 20. 

4th Division : General CoiTeard (Head-Quarters in the Luxem- 
bourg). Battalions of the arrondissements 5, 6, 9, 13, 14 and 15. 

This distribution does not aj^ear in the order of battle given 
above ; some of the Generals are not mentioned at all , and others 
have different commands. 

The strength estimates in the foregoing order of battle cannot 
be regarded as very ti-ust-worthy. There was many a corps and 
many a battalion the strength of which was unknown to its own 


commander. Only thus much can be assamed, that the strength 
of the army altogether was about 500,000 men. 

The state of feeling which existed in the largest portion 
of these masses y vis. the Garde Nationale, may be inferred 
from a description given by Francisque Sarcey, a member of the 
Garde Nationale, who has published a narrative of the state of 
Paris during the siege ; and writes as follows ^ with regard to the 
general feeling during the advance of the Germans ^ in the first 
half of September: 

"All the world expected to see the "Prussians" fall upon 
Palis and force the gates, five or six days after Sedan. Their 
progress could be traced by the notices in the papers, which 
announced, one day: "The march to-day is only as far as Bar- 
le-Duc", the next day : "to Vitry", the following day : "The march 
to-day is only to Ch&lons", and then : "They are going to £pernay". 
Thus we could calculate, by how many miles France had become 
reduced in size. The railroad material moved back, from town 
to town, upon Paris, and proclaimed how much country had been 
abandoned to the enemy. The girdle with which the Prussians 
enclosed us, drew closer every hour, until Asni^res and Vincennes 
became the termini of the railroad lines. One day more and all 
the carriages, all the engines, the whole material were collected 
together in the carriage sheds at Paris, and the gates by which 
they used to leave the gi*eat city were locked and walled up. 

"It is highly probable that those who will relate the story of 
the siege to posterity, will only represent the fixed, immutable 
purpose of the Parisians at this time, to conquer or to die; they 
will blazon forth the heroic courage of this great capital, which 
broke through its habits of luxury and refinement without flinching, 
and resolved to bury itself in ruins, rather tlian yield to a 
cowardly capitulation. 

"In reality however, the feelings which agitated the Parisian 
citizens during this waiting period, were very complicated, and it 
needs an observer of subtile mind to analyze them. 

"At the bottom of every heart lay dormant — it was ab- 
surd, in*ational and laughable — a secret hope that "the affair 
would be arranged", and that the Prussians would halt half way. 


Upon what were these strange illusions grounded? Upon every 
thing and upon nothing. William had declared that he only made 
war against Napoleon. **Now" said they, '*as the Emperor is 
overthrown, why should the King of Prussia continue the cam- 
paign against a nation which never did him any harm?" To this 
was added: ^he will be afraid of the French republic, and the 
spread of democratic ideas in his army.^' In fact all the demo- 
crats of Paris composed long addresses to the soldiers of the enemy, 
their "German brothers", and posted them on all the walls of 
Paris, presumably with a view to their being conveniently read by 
the agents of Monsieur von Bismarck. Besides, the intervention 
of Europe was counted upon. **Ru88ia will not allow the con- 
quests of Prussia to continue, which endanger the security of 
Europe. England must perceive that after the conquest of France, 
William will annex Holland and aspire to the dominion of the 
sea." On the other hand the article in the "Times" was not 
quoted, which deliberately enumerated the reasons why Europe 
must remain neutral, and recommended an indifference, to which 
Europe was only too much inclined. 

"But what nourished this irrational dream of the population 
more than anything else, was the incurable vanity, which is the 
principal feature in our national character. To take Paris ap- 
peared to us such a monstrous sacrilege, such an astounding 
outrage against all laws, human and divine, that the thought of 
such a thing would not enter our heads; such a crime could not 
be committed, no — it was impossible. Sooner than that, the 
earth would open and swallow up the accursed ones who should 
venture to raise their hands against the holy ark. I am convinced 
that this unconquerable hope held its ground with many amongst 
us until the last day, that it blended with all their sensations and 
if it ever entirely ceased to exist, it was only at the first shot 
from Fort Val6rien." 

Thus Francisque Sarcey. 

And one must do him justice, for the whole demeanour of 
the population, the diplomatic steps of the government and the 
military actions of the besieged army, have confirmed his de- 
scription. It is, besides^ worthy of remark, that upon the sum- 


mons of the Government for all useless mouths to leave Paris, the 
men of the well-to-do classes certainly conducted their families to 
the south and to the sea side watering places, but whether from 
curiosity, pride, wantonness or love of the beautiful city, with few 
exceptions, they returned to Paris themselves, ^in order to take 
part in the siege". 

The German Army drew near immediately after the capi- 
tulation of Sedany the XI. Army Corps only, remaining behind 
provisionally, for the purpose of sending off the captured French 
Army to Germany. 

The King's Head-Quarters were removed to Varennes on the 
4th of September, on the 5th to Rheims, on the 14th to Ghftteau- 
Thierry, on the 15th to Meaux and on the 19th to the chateau of 
Ferri^res. The armies of the Crown Princes of Prussia and Saxony 
marched by the two main roads, leading from Sedan to Paris, 
without meeting any resistance; and the troops delighted in the 
beautiful country, which unfolded itself in greater loveliness and 
richness as each day's march brought them nearer to the capital. 

General Ftnoy^ who had been on the march to M^zi^res, 
with the 13th Army Corps for Mac Mahon's eventual support, 
rightly apprehensive for his own safety, had again returned to 
Paris on the 6th and 7th of September. 

The III. Army marched upon the southern line. The Head- 
Quarters of the Crown Prince of Prussia were in Attigny on the 
4th, in Warmereville on the 5th, in Rheims on the 6th, and in 
Boursault, near Epemay, on the 9th. At this place and at Chd,teau- 
Thierry, the IH. Army crossed the Mame, approached the city 
between the Marne and the Seine, and reached Nogeut-sur-Harne 
and Cr^teil with the advanced guard on the 15th of September. 
On this day the Head - Quarters were removed from Montmirail, 
where they had been since the 12th, to Coulommiers. 

The IV. Army marched by Soissons, upon the northern line, 
taking several roads. It only commenced the march on the 5th 
of September, after having rested on the previous day. At 
the same time, on the 5th, an attempt was made on Montm^y 


by a strong detachment of the Garde Corps, whieh however, in 
spite of a bombardment for* several hours, did not produce the 
desired result upon this rock fortress, and was consequently, not 
further continued. 

The IV. Army Corps, which originally followed the Garde 
Corps, advanced against Paris by Vendresse upon Laon; the XII. 
Army Corps by Le Ch^ne and Rethel upon Cormicy. From 
Launois, the Garde Corps turned to the south upon Craonne. On 
the 11th of September, the line Laon-Craonne-Cormicy was reached. 

As with the III. Army, the Cavalry Divisions were two days 
march in advance. On the 9th of September, therefore, Duke 
William of Mecklenburg , Commander of the 6th Cavalry Division, 
was able, after a short parley, to move into LaoUy which was 
given up by the French General, Theremin. Here occurred the 
melancholy accident of the ignition of the powder magazine in the 
citadel, after its surrender, probably by a non-commissioned officer 
(Garde d'artillerie). The explosion cost the lives of 40 German 
Jagers, £uid above 200 French Gardes Mobiles, and wounded many 
others, including the Duke himself. 

The Head-Quarters of the IV. Army were in the chateau 
Marchais on the 10th and 11th of September, from the 13th to 
the 17th the advance was continued upon Nanteuil, Aey and Lizy, 
and Paris itself was reached on the 18th and 19th. The 
IV. Army Corps passed Soissons on the 14th. The fortress refused 
the summons to surrender and was invested. 

Whilst the IV. Army thus approached the great city from 
the north and then drew its line of investment on the north and 
east, opposite the forts of iS^. Denis, AubervUlers^ RomamviUe, 
Noisy, Rosny, the redoubt of Fontenay and Fort Nogenty the 
III. Army continually extended further to the south and west, 
and, marching by Bi^vre , Palaiseau and Versailles , enclosed the 
forts of Charentony Ivry, Btc^tre, Montrouge, Fanvres, Issy 
and the fortress of Mont Falirien. 

On the l^th of September the circle was closed round 

The Head-Quarters of the III. Army were removed tp Ver^ 
sailles ; those of the IV. Army to Grand-Tremblay, 


The enclosing mancenvre of the last few days had not taken 
place, however, without fighting. Probably the plan of the de- 
fence was, if possible, to hold the plateanx of Clamart and Meudon, 
the heights before the soath-west front, already mentioned as im- 
portant ; or perhaps the intention was only to distnrb the enemy's 
manoeuvre for the moment. 

General Ducrot*) repeatedly directed vehement attacks against 
the troops wliich were in* the act of shutting off the south-west 
front, on the 17th and 18th "and particularly on the 19th of 

These attacks would have greatly endangered the III. Army, 
had sufficient forces been developed. In this they certainly failed. 
General Ducrot brought into action four. Divisions of the regular 
troops — 30,000 men at the highest estimate — , much too few for 
so grave an undertaking as here presented itself. Consequently 
nothing came of his attacks but a totally useless sacrifice of men, 
and moreover it entailed the disadvantage of a defeat of those 
troops, on which Paris had to place the greatest reliance at the 
commencement of the defence. 

The fights developed themselves as follows: 

The V. Army Corps laid a pontoon bridge over tlie Seine, 
above Villeneuve St, Georges ^ on the 17tli, and then accom- 
panied by the 2nd Cavalry Division, marched towards Versailles with 
the cavalry division in front. In order to cover the construction 
of the bridge, the plateau from Limeil to Boissy St. Leger, north 
of the point for crossing the Seine, and opposite to Fort Charen- 
ton at the distance of a mile (4^/5 English miles), had been occu- 
pied by the 17th Infantry Brigade, two squadrons and two bat- 
teries. This position was attacked, in the wood of Brevannes, 
at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, by six French battalions witli two 
batteries from Creteil. ^ However , on the German side , the five 
companies which were pushed forward to the northern point of the 
wood, were sufficient in conjunction with the artillery and cavaliy. 

*) The same General who commanded at Sedan after Mac Mahon, and 
escaped the capitulation in some manner not yet quite cleared up. 


to overthrow the enemy. The loss of the Germans amounted to 
3 officers and 40 men, in killed and wounded. 

In the meanwhile the passage of the Seine had been ac- 
complished, and on the following day the march was continued 
towards Versailles, as far as Bi^vre (9th Division) and Palaisean 
(10th Division). Whilst this was taking place a skirmish occurred 
to the north of Bibvre^ between detachments of the 9th Division 
and French troops, who attacked from Plessis Piquet. 

Early on the 19th the V. Amy Corps moved o£f from Bi^vre 
and Palaisean, in order to reach Versailles the same day. In rear 
of the V. marched the I. Bavarian Corps which had crossed by 
the bridge at Villeneuve, one day later. Peaceable communications 
with Versailles had been formed by a patrol, on the previous day. 

Even before the commencement of the march, the French made 
an attack from Petit-Bicesire. It was repulsed and the march 
of the division was proceeded with. Then followed a renewed 
violent attack, which obliged the Division to develope for fighting 
with the front to the north. The combat was so vehement^ and 
General Ducrot developed such overpowering masses of troops, 
that the 10th Division was also obliged to give up its march in 
order to move forward, with the artillery corps, to Villa-Coublay 
in support of the 9th Divisiou. Still before the arrival of this 
reinforcement, the advanced guard of the I. Bavarian Corps, DietFs 
Brigade, had been so judiciously marched against the left flank 
of the French, and had attacked with such energy, that the assault 
against the 9th Division fell into disorder, and this Division 
now succeeded, tolerably quickly, in defeating the enemy. Shortly 
after 11 o'clock a.m. General von Kirchbach was again able to 
continue the march with his corps to the west; he could leave 
the section of ground which he quitted, as well as the enemy who 
still held the other side of Plessis Piquet, to the care of the 
II. Bavarian Corps, now marching from Lonjumeau in the south, 
upon Chatenay and to his support. 

General von Hartmann, relieving the V. Corps upon the tract 
of country between Sceaux and Villa-Coublay, took up the enga- 

Towards 12 o'clock, the Frencli were in the entrenchment 


at Moulin de la Tour and along the ridge of the plateau to the 

westward, as far as Plessis Piquet and beyond. The slope 

which they held was furnished with cover trenches formed one 

s^bove and another, and displayed six batteries in emplacements. 

Their position was very strong, both on account of the steep- 
ness of the slope and the strength of the fortifications. Then 
in a short time, the French side again took the offensive. 

Of the Bavarian Corps, the brigades of the 3rd Division were 
moved forward upon Petit-Bicestre and upon Sceauo)^ whilst the 
4th Division with the 8th Brigade remained at Croix de Vemis^ 
and the 7th Brigade was sent against Bourg. M6vements of the 
enemy's troops were observed, at 11.45 o'clock, both towards 
Plessis Piquet and towards Fontenay, which led to the supposi- 
tion that an offensive effort was intended. This appeared to be 
directed fi*om the enemy's left flank, against the infantry advancing 
by Bourg; and General von Hartmann, therefore, commanded the 
7th Bngade to confine itself to holding Bourg until further orders. 
At 12 o'clock the 8th Brigade was moved to a reserve position 
to the east of Chatenay, in order that it might be available to 
support both wings of the corps. 

It was, however, confined to an artillery action, and at 2.30 
o'clock, the French evacuated their position. 

The advanced guard of the 3rd Division followed immediately 
and took possession of the abandoned entrenchments, with 7 12- 
pounder field guns which had been left behind. 

The French troops had apparently been unable to hold out 
against the fire of the German artillery. In the meanwhile the 
VI. Army Corps had advanced by two pontoon bridges over the 
Seine at yUleneuve and by Villeneuve le Roi and Orly, towards 
the fortifications of. Paris. The artillery fire from the entrench- 
ments at Vill^uif then put an end to the advance of the* VI. 
Corps. French infantry also showed themselves, but were defeated 
without any considerable fighting, and advanced posts were established 
upon the line Chevilly — Choisy. Several offensive attacks were still 
made on the part of the French from the entrenchments, but 
without success. 

On the evening of the 19th of September, the Third Army 



held the line Bougival, Sevres, Meudon, Bonrg, L'Hay, Chevilly, 
Thiais, Choigy le Roi, Bonneuil. 

ThiB day, the first of the InYestment, had heen very dis- 
asterous for the French. In a panic of terror, the heaten diyisions 
had fled through the forts, within the gates of the city itself, and 
there spread alarm and confusion. The population, horrified and 
at the same time indignant at the sight of the flying demoralized 
soldiers, overwhelmed them with invectives, and some were arrested 
by the Garde Nationale, to give an answer for themselves. 
And yet these were the only regular troops which Paris then 
possessed. When therefore the cry resounded through the city; 
''Long live the Mobiles! Down with the Zouaves! Down with 
the Line !'' this could only entail the • evil consequence of en- 
gendering dissension in the army, at the expense of the better 

The endeavours of the besieged, after this,^ were chiefly 
directed to the instruction of the numerous bands of the Gai*de 
Nationale and Garde Mobile. In addition to which, the principle 
was observed of firing with heavy guns from the foi*t8 upon every- 
thing that was visible of the besiegers, not only upon small de- 
tachments, but also on single posts. 

On the German side everything was at first done to render 
the Investment really impenetrable, both as regards the passing 
of single messengers as well as the. frustration of attempts for an 
attack. By making use of every advantage of the ground, the 
most advanced line of out-posts was pushed, with circumspection, 
as near to the foi*ts as it was anywhere possible, in order to find 
out each measure adopted by the enemy and every alteration in 
his position. Entrenchments were made behind as a protection 
against sorties; the defence capabilities of tlie outskirts of the 
villages, were strengthened by earthworks, abatis, covertrenches 
and baiTicades; the extensive park walls were everywhere provided 
with loopholes, passages were made through the .walls, and the 
points best adapted for positions were indicated beforehand by 
sign boards. 

Thus, in the midst of a labyrinth of countless buildings, of 
the charming and beautiful resorts of pleasure round the city. 


a cincture was drawn, of strong defensive entrenchments*), of consi- 
derable depth, which in a short time was so completely closed uj), 
that Paris was obliged to resoii; to quite unusual means of inter- 
course through the air, in order to avoid absolute isolation. 

The month of September only witnessed some unimportant 
military events. 

In the night of the 22nd the German out-posts, observing 
that the entrenchments of Villejuif were evacuated by the French, 
had established themselves in them. On the following morning, 
however, they were driven out again by the fire of Forts Bicetre 
and Ivry. Still Maud' buy' s Division, which now broke out of the 
forts in pursuit, was repulsed. 

On the same day Rear Admiral Saisset undertook a recon- 
naissance upon the north front, against Le BourgeL 

On the 24th, the German out-posts at St. Cloud and Shvres 
were bombarded by gunboats, belonging to the Seine flotilla.. 

On the 30th, a sortie on a larger scale, again took place, 
under the direction of General Vinoy, from the south-west front. 
The real attack was made against the VI. Corps from the Forts 
Montrouge and Bicetre, and fighting took place round Fillejuify 
CheviUy^ Thiais and Choisy le Roij whilst demonstrations were 
made against the Y. Corps from Fort Issy, and against the XI. 
Corps from Fort Charenton. The French were repulsed with con- 
siderable loss, and amongst others, their able General, Guilhem, 
was killed. 

On the 19th and 20th of September, the negotiations, already 
mentioned at page 270, liad taken place between Count Bismarck 
and Jules Favre, in the Chateau llaute-Maison, and in Ferri^res, 
the royal head-quarters. The negotiations as to the possibility of 
a definitive armistice had been broken off, for in fact, neither of 
the two .parties was able to accept the demands of his opponent 

*) For the better comprehension of the maps it may be remarked that 
all the German works, which are not numbered^ are field entrenchments 
and batteries to guard against sorties^ therefore of a defensive character, 
whilst the numbei^ed works are siege batteries, that is bombarding batteries, 



for an armistice pf snoh a kind. The position of affairs made 
peace J most absolutely necessary; an armistice was, however, im- 
possible if it were not the immediate preliminary to peace. 

The negotiations were broken off because the republican govern- 
ment was neither judicious enough, nor strong enough, to admit at 
once the prospect of a separation of land. 


The first days of October brought some small encounters be- 
tween German cavalry and newly formed French troops, in a 
wider radius round Paris. Immediately after the enclosing was 
finished, the four Cavalry Divisions of the Investing Army had 
received the mission of watching the country in the north-west 
and west, especially also in the south as far as the Loire; an^ 
at the same time of bringing in requisitions the produce of which 
would be for the benefit of the magazines established in Corbeil. 
Single battalions were assigned for the support of the Cavalry. 

General von Bredow, of the 5th Cavalry Division, whose 
head-quarters were in St. Nom, had undertaken an expedition In 
the direction of Rouen, on the 30th of September, with the main 
body of his brigade and six companies; he here came upon 
irregular troops, which he dispersed, and after destroying the rail- 
road to Rouen, he occupied Mantes. Meanwhile the French had 
4igain assembled at Pacy; General von Bredow, whilst making a 
further expedition towards Evi^eux, attacked them afresh, drove 
them away on the 5th of October, made requisitions in Evreua: 
itself, collected quantities of cattle and forage from the whole 
neighbourhood, and retui'ned with them to Paris. • 

The 6th Cavalry Division, at the same time, advanced against 
Chartres and during its march, drove away a Garde Mobile de- 
tachment from the neighbourhood of Rambouillet, on the 2nd of 

The 15th Brigade, reinforced by two companies and a bat- 


tery, tinder command of Colonel von Alvensleben, went forward 
from Rambonillet upon Epemon, scattered the out posts of a French 
detachment near the wood of St. Hilaire on the 4th of October, 
. occupied Bpernon in the evening, and returned to Rambonillet 
with the rich results of the requisitions, leaving some small de- 
tachments distributed in rear. 

One of these detachments remaining behind, a squadron of 
the 16th Hussars, had "quartered itself in the hamlet of Ablis^ and 
here, in the night of the 7th of October, the first catastrophe 
occurred from that new deplorable kind of warfare, which resulted 
from the measures taken by the republican government and from 
the instigations of the French press. The . inhabitants of Ablis 
gave information of the presence of the Germans, to a band of 
Franc -tireurs in the neighbourhood; these sniTounded the place 
in the darkness, and, with the assistance of the inhabitants, killed 
the greater part of the soldiers who were surprised in sleep. A 
few only were able to escape. The Germans in consequence burnt 
down the place as a terrible example. 

The 4th Cavalry Division, under command of Prince Albert 
of Prussia, had gone in the direction of Orleans, and on the 4th 
of October was stationed at Toury. From here the approach of a 
strong body of French was ascertained, who were advancing from 
Orleans, in a northerly direction. The Cavalry Division moved 
back to Etampes, and from there to Authon, and reported the 
circumstance to the Chief Command. 

These were ike first beginnings of the enterprises an the 
Loire, which as yet, had certainly shown themselves of no offen- 
sive importance for the investing army. 

For all that, the circumstance deserved the greatest attention, 
on account of the strategical importance of the point from whence 
the French movement had proceeded, and therefore an Army De- 
tachment, under the chief command of General von der Tann 
was immediately formed from the Third Army, consisting of the 
Ist Bavarian Corps, the 22nd Infantry Division, and the 2nd and 
4th Cavalry Divisions, with the mission of discovering the plans of 


the possibly newly raised French Loire Army and of opposing it in 
case of necessity. 



General von der Tann, marched off for the south on the 
7th of October. (For the operations on the Loire, v. Chapter 11.) 

Before Paris itself , everything remained quiet at the be- 
ginning of the month. The King removed his head-quarters to 
Versailles^ on the 6th, On the 9th of October, the first 14 
siege guns arrived in Nanteuil, via Weissenburg, and were then 
transported with great trouble, and by a wide circuit to avoid the 
forts, to Villa-Coublay. There, the siege* park was established. 

The investing army was satisfied with the absolute isolation 
of the great fortress, and the latter now began gradually to com- 
prehend what was intended. 

The account which Jules Favre publicly gave of his inter- 
view with Count Bismai*ck, in a style which came liome to French 
feelings, inflamed all hearts witli fresh indignation, and made the 
fall of Strasburg, which had- now become known, easier to bear. 
In Paris at that time was sung: 

Bismarck si tu continues 
De tons tes Prussiens il n'en restera giiere, 

Bismarck si tu continues 
De tons tes Prussiens il n'en restera plus. 

Paris firmly counted on the assistance of the provinces, in 
the same way that the provinces, on the other hand, reckoned 
upon the endurance of Paris. Each party hoped that the other 
would do the work. 

As three weeks had elapsed since the investment, and still 
no army of relief was approaching from the south, Gambetta set off 
on the 6th of October in an air-balloon, in order to inspire the 
sluggish deputation of the government in Tours, with the fire of 
his southern French energy. He arrived in Tours on the 9th, 
after having first descended at Rouen, and at once took away the 
War Ministry from the aged advocate Cr^mieux, in order to con- 
duct it simultaneously with the Ministry of the Interior; so that 
he now had all the forces to be found outside Paris at his 


On the German side a diplomatic act took place. Count 
Bismarck addressed a circular, in the beginning of Octob^, to tlie 


repreBentatfves of the North German Confederation in foreign lands, 
in which he impressively pointed out the dangers, to which the po- 
pulation would be exposed, if the French capital held out until the 
provisions were completely exhausted. Amongst other things, he in- 
directly allowed the conclusion to be drawn, that only a short term of 
resistance by the enemy, was reckoned upon at the German head- 
quai*ters. The provisioning wets however on a surprisingly large 
scale, and later the Parisians displayed extraordinary frugality. 

Bismarck^s dispatch had no effect upon the measures of the 
republican government. 

After a rest of twelve days, General Trodiu fixed upon the 
13<A of October for a new sortie, probably in consequence of 
General von der Tann's departure having become known to him, 
and from over-estimating the weakness thus caused to the in- 
vesting army. On the day named, three columns, under the chief 
direction of General Vinoy, broke forth against the heights of 
Clamor ty after a vigorous fire had been previously opened from 
the southern forts; in the centre, one brigade, under the command 
of General Susbielle, moved against Chatillon, upon the right 
flank, one battalion only against Clamart, and upon tlie left flank, 
two battalions against Bagneux. 

These troops were, numerically, quite insufficient to attain 
any success. 

General von Hartmann, against whose positions the attack was 
directed, took measures according to the method always em- 
ployed against French sorties, on the German side. He allowed 
the enemy to press so far forward beyond the line of advanced 
posts, that by surrounding him^ he could bring him under the fire 
of artillery and infantry. 

The French columns penetrated into Bagneux «,nd Ohatillon, 
without meeting considerable resistance, made themselves masters 
of the stone bridge between the latter place and Clamart; then 
however, were received by such a cross fire, that they commenced 
their retreat as quickly as possible. 

The 2nd Bavarian Corps lost 388 men in killed and wounded, 
amongst whom were 10 officers; the loss of the French was 
considerably greater. On the same day, perhaps as a support to 


this sortie y or as a demonstration, the fortress upon M6nt Valdrien 
overwhelmed the Park and Chateau of Si. Cloud, where the 
German ont-posts were stationed, with f^uch a hail of the heaviest 
shot, that this beautifal and historically interesting building broke 
into flames, and was completely destroyed. It was one of those 
useless destructions of their own property which, in the contest 
with the republic, so frequentiy bore evidence to the great lack 
of the knowledge of war in many of the French commanders, and 
of the love of destruction 4u uneducated, badly disciplined troops. 

^ sortie again followed on the 21si of October , which it 
is presumed was only ordered by General Trochu upon the con- 
tinual urging of the population: ""that he would still attempt 

Three French columns, about 6500 men strong iu all, with 
48 guns, supported by a reserve of 4600 men with 46 guns, 
broke forth at 1 o'clock p.m., between the Seine and Rueil, 
to the east of Rueil, and from Mont Valdrien, against the posi- 
tions of the V. Army Corps, after the attack had been previously 
announced by a vigorous fire from Mont Val^rien and the Seine 

General Ducrot commanded the sortie. 

At Malmaison the French encountered the foremost detach- 
ments of the V. Corps, and were vigorously received. The Ist Garde 
Laodwehr Regiment also engaged in the fight (the Garde Land- 
wehr Division, which had taken part in the conquest of Strasburg, 
had arrived shortly before, and was stationed at St. Germain). 
A fire -fight was developed which lasted for three hours, with 
heavy losses to the French, and was viewed by the King himself 
from the Marly-viaduct. Finally the artillery of the IV. Army 
Corps cannonaded the French columns from the right bank of the 


General Ducrot drew back his troops, with the loss of 2 field 
guns, as well as 100 prisoners, besides numerous killed and 

Towards the end of the month there was again some serious 
fighting on the north front of Paris. 

The village of Le Bourget was in the radius occupied by 


the 2nd Infantry Division of the Garde Corps; it was held by 
one company. On the 28th of October, the French General 
de Bellemare carried it by a surprise. As this inconsiderable event 
- Le Boorget in itself was of no importance — was the first 
lucky stroke for the Parisians, they did not fail to make out that 
it was an affair of unusual importance, and took &esh courage. 
The 2nd Garde Division, on the other hand, however, considered 
it a point of honour to retake the village. 

On the morning of the 30th, General von Budritzki undertook 
a surrounding attack &om Dugny, Pont Iblon and Blanc-Mesnil 
(v. map of the north front of Paris). Five batteries of the artil- 
lery corps were at his command besides those of his Division, 
and some battalions of the 1st Garde Division were held dispos- 
able as a reserve. Three attacking colunms were formed and 
stood ready at 7.45 o'clock ; that of the right wing, two battalions 
strong of the Eaiser-Franz-Regiment , under Major von Derenthall, 
in Dugny; that of the centre at Pont Iblon, under Colonel Count 
Kanitz, consisting of the Queen Elizabeth's Regiment, one battalion 
of the Queen's and the pioneer company of the 2nd Garde; and 
that o^the left wing at Blanc-Mesnil, under Coionel von Zeuner, 
composed of two battalions of the Emperor Alexander's Regiment. 
In artillery, three horse batteries were brought into position at 
Pont Iblon, and the four light and four heavy Garde batteries at 
Blanc-Mesnil. Some cavalry was allotted to each column. 

In case support should be necessary, the divisional artillery 
was placed in readiness at Amouville, and the 2nd Garde Uhlan 
Regiment at Bonneuil. 

At 8 o'clock the horse batteries opened fire upon Le Bourgety 
and at the same time Zeuner' s column was set in motion in order 
to cross the brook Le Moleret on the road to Drancy, and, moving 
along it, to take Le Bourget from the south-east. 

Half an hour later the two other columns marched off, and 
arrived at the village at the same time as the surrounding column. 

It had been barricaded and placed in a thorough state of de- 
fence by the French, who were, besides, supported by the fire of 
the guns from the Forts d'Aubervillers and de I'Est, as well as 


by their field batteries, between Courneuve and Le Boarget, and 
also by the rifle fire of a detachment stationed in Drancy. 

The fight was hot and sanguinary. Every house was ob- 
stinately defended. It waa not until 12.30 o'clock that all resistance 
was subdued, and the village again completely in German hands. 

Cut off by Zeuner's column, the French had been unable to 
fly, and 1250 un wounded prisoners, including 30 officers, were 
taken. Great was the loss in killed and wounded on both sides. 

The Prussian Garde mourned the loss of 14 killed and 21 
wounded officers, and 44 killed and 405 wounded men. 

The moral effect of this discomfiture in Paris was considerable^ 
because all the illusions raised upon the great importance of Le 
Bourget now collapsed; but a still more disheartenmg , almost 
stunning effect, was produced by the news of the fall of the 
fortress of Metz, The rumour of this great catastrophe was 
widely spread in Paris during the last days of October, and was 
known for certain on the 31st. 

In truth this event was of the greatest importance for the 
conduct of the war on both sides. 

On the 27th of October the renowned capitulation of Metz 
was concluded with Marshal Bazaine. It delivered into the hands 
of the victors, an army of 173,000 men, including 6000 offi- 
cers and 3 marshals; the strong foi*tress and an enormous war 
material, valued at 80 millions of francs ; about 800 fortress guns, 
the material for more than 85 batteries, and 66 mitrailleuses; about 
300,000 rifles, cuirasses, swords etc. in very great number; about 
2000 •military waggons , witli many other valuable materials , and, 
as badges of honour, 53 eagles and colours. The fall of Metz 
happened at the right time for the Germans. In the north as well 
as on the Loire, circumstances were taking place which would raise 
the approach of the army, hitherto employed in the investment of 
Metz, to the most critical importance; although on the German 
side, no accurate comprehension could at this moment be obtained 
of the whole daftger which lay in them, for the strength of tlie 
newly formed republican army was unknown. 

But on the French side, the whole importance of the capitu- 
lation of Metz was now recognized^ and Gambetta's unmeasured 


burst of fttry against the ^traitor'' Bazaine, proves the depth of 
his despair. Within four weeks, a hundred thousand German 
warriors would bo able to reinforce the army detachment, now at 
Orl^ns, which, as a weak dam, had to oppose the great French 
Loire Army in its march upon Paris; and sufficient masses could 
be thrown against the Northern Army which was now in the act 
of formation. Several weeks however were still necessary^ for the 
newly organi«;ed armies to attain such efficiency that the relief of 
Paris could be seriously undertaken by them. 

Gambetta redoubled his overpowering activity to accelerate 
this epoch, in order to bring into effect the attack upon the 
inves|^ng army of Paris, before the German troops could draw 
near from Metz. 

Thus the end of October brought into action, in the calmly 
flowing stream of the war, outside Paris, potent new forces, whose 
impending collision formed a fresh crisis, full of suspense. 

A diplomatic event also took place conjointly with the great 
military transactions of this time. Thiers, who since the 12th of 
September had been travelling to the capitals of England, Russia, 
Austria and Italy, in order to gain these powers for France, 
returned with baffled hopes, and, on the 30th of October, presented 
himself at Vei'sailles for negotiations. He first received a safe 
conduct to Paris in orcfei* to place himself in communication with 
the government there, and returned to Versailles on the 1st of 
November. Once again an armistice was discussed, and once 
again the negotiations were broken off, ostensibly on the question 
of the reprovisioning of Paris. It was just as natural that, on 
the German side, the importation of provisions should not be 
permitted without an equivalent, as it can be understood that, on 
the French side, an armistice without this, was regarded as a 
continuation of the war. The ai*ms of the Parisians were in fact 
their stomachs. 

Thiers's appearance in Paris on the 30th of October, combined 
besides with the bad news from Metz, and the panic of Le Bourget, 
produced in Paris itself .considerable and very different effects. 
The bourgeoisie suddenly became deeply aware of their need of 
peace. People were completely satiated with heroism, and at the 


sight of Thiers, believed in the near prospect of peace. They 
breathed more freely; the butchers everywhere brought out the 
stores of meat which they had kept concealed, in order to sell 
them at a high price, so that the wittiscism, le coehon €est la 
pauvy was generally circulated. On the other hand the Proletariats, 
led by Flourens, Felix Pyat, Delescluze, Ledru-Rollln and their 
colleagues, rose in open revolt. Even from tiie beginning of the 
investment they had been mutinous and threatening ; now they 
declared aloud: Thiers was an agent of the Orleanists, he bad 
sold France, and would make peace for the Due d'Aumale; Ba- 
zaine, Trochu and the whole government were conspiring with the 
Prussians, and it was just the time to set up the Commune in 
order to save the country. 

With this intention the men of Belleville, M^nilmontanti Mont- 
martre and Clignancouii; surrounded the Hdtel de Ville on the 
31st of October, and threatened the members of the government 
there assembled, with death. Thanks to the timely appearance 
of some battalions which scattered the crowd, the government was 
saved, but the abyss upon which it stood had displayed itself 


The prospects of an armistice were lost after the interviews 


of the Chancellor with Thiers on the 1st and 3rd of November; 
on. the 6th of November, the negotiations were completely broken 
off by direction of the Parisian government, and Jules Favre 
proclaimied to the city that resistance to the uttermost^ was the 
only course that France could take. 

With this prospect Paris was by no means edified; the dis- 
position for combat had entirely vanished, and the revolt on the 
31st of October roused afresh, strong fears in the heart of every 
proprietor. It was generally asked, of what avail was a longer 
resistance, for Paris anyhow must fall some time; and Edmond 
About had even the courage to publish an article of cool reasoning 


«nd Bound logic; which concladed with the assertion ^ that the 
capture of Paris was simply an engineering calculation for the 
Germans, and they could quietly await the result. The wisest 
policy would he to grant them what they might desire, so that 
they would only go home again. The author expressed what 
every one thought, and the deepest dejection reigned in the great 

Pix)visions had already risen largely in price, so that a very 
li^ge part of the population was obliged to suffer privations in 
the most essential requisites of life. The mortality increased 
rapidly, particularly amongst children. Added to this, the want 
of gas condemned people to darkness for a fai* longer time than the 
Parisians were accustomed to, and consequently many amusements 
and distractions ceased. The state of isolation from the outer 
world was still more sensibly felt. Many men had sent away 
their families, and now remained without news of them; others had 
been obliged to leave their business and property outside Paris, 
and lived in anxiety with respect to them. The Gardes Mobiles 
from the provinces suffered especially from home sickness. All 
however felt very acutely the absence of political news from the 
outer world, to which they were quite unaccustomed, and especially 
of tidings as to the efforts of the provinces to come to the help 
of the capital. 

It is true that a certain connection with the exterior was 
established in a very ingenious manner, by balloons and pigeon 
posts; but these means were used especially for government dis- 
patches, and could only respond in a very limited manner to the 
universal wants of the public. 

In order to tranquillize the people, and to prove to them that 
he was using the utmost activity in the defence of the city, 
General Trochu very frequently made the outer -forts cannonade, 
even from the beginning of the investment. To this expedient he 
added still another, that of often taking in hand the re-organization 
of his army. Thus at the beginning of November the order of 
battle appeared, which has ah'eady been given at page 278. The 
Garde Nationale, called the First Army, was appointed for the 
interior service, mi fpr the occupation of thQ QQceinte^ and the 


latter whs divided into nine sections ^ each of which comprised 
about ten bastions. The Second Army — regiments of the line, 
regiments de marche and Gardes Mobiles — was destined for 
operations in the field; and the Third Army — sailors, marines, 
Gardes Mobiles, regiments de marche, dooaniers, forest officials 
and the mobilized Garde Nationale — was to defend the line of 
the forts. 

But even this new order of battle was unable to inspire the 
Parisians with fresh courage ; affairs had reached such a point that 
the capitulation would probably soon have ensued, had not an 
impulse come from outside. 

The situation ehangedj howevevy at one stroke. 

On the 9th of November, the French Loire Army, under 
d^Aurelle de Paladines approached against Oridans in such 
strength) that General von der Tann was obliged to retire upon 
Tournfj after a hot fight. The news of this success, with em- 
bellishments, arrived in Paris on the 15th, by pigeon post 

The people drew breath; they exulted; in imagination they 
even saw the investing army scattered, and loudly demanded — 
resistance to the uttermost. 

Neverl^eless it was not until the 29th of November that a 
sortie was again attempted. 


The attack was now directed, as might be conjectured, towards 
the south-east, and aimed, apparently, at establishing a connection 
with the Loire Army, through the line of investment. Demon- 
strations at different points were to occupy the Gennans. 

On the 28th of November, Mont Avron, a plateau lying in 
front of .the eastern forts , was occupied by Admiral Saisset and 
General Hugues with troops of the Third Army; and a batteiy was 
erected upon it and equipped, the fire of which could command 
important passages for the investing troops, across the Mame at 
Chelles and Goumay. At the same time preparations were made 


to lay several bridges over the Mame upon the line Nogent sur 
Mame — Joinville — St. Maur. 

Vice Admiral Ronci^re le Noury concentrated a considerable 
mass of troops at St, Denis ^ and two divisions were formed np 
upon the peninsula of Nanterre. 

In the night of the 28th and morning of the 29th of November, 
the forts kept up a vigorous fire in all directions. Then followed 
a sortie, under the direction of General Vinoy, with large masses 
from Forts Ivry and BMlrCy against the positions of the VI. Army 
Corps. The attack was supported by the fire of the flotilla upon 
the Seine. The French indeed succeeded in getting possession of 
the railway station Choisy le Rot for some time, but their attacks 
at UHay were repulsed and they retired with gi'eat loss, including 
several hundred prisoners. The German loss amounted to 7 officers 
and about 100 men. 


Upon the north front, the Vice Admiral, and upon the penin- 
sula of Nanterre, General de Beaufort, carried out demonstrations 
in the afternoon, but otherwise nothing more considerable took 
place, which appears surprising after such great preparations. 
General Ducrot had caused a proclamation to be posted at the 
corners of all the streets, before the commencement of the sortie, 
in which he promised great things, and declared that he would 
return victorious or not at all. Why he did not support General 
Vinoy better on the 29th, or sally forth for an independent under- 
taking, is not clear. On one side it was asserted that he had been 
unable to develope his trpops because Rochefort's barricades had 
barred all the roads (Rochefoii; was a member of the Government 
and president of the barricade committee), on the other side it 
was maintained that the bridges over the Marne, by which Ducrot 
had wished to cross the river, had been partly washed away. 

The larger* sortie now only took place on the 30th of 
Novemher, and the object of it was evidently to break through 
the German lines of investment in the direction of Meauw and 
Fontainebleau^ in order^ subsequently^ to enter into connection 
loitk the Loire Army. 

The concentration of large masses of troops for the purpose 
of breaking forth against the line Champigny — Brie, was covered 


and facilitated in a high degree by the confonnation of the ground, 
and by the woods, parks and roads on the right bank of the 
Mame. The neighbouring forts with that of Mont Avron, and also 
nnmerons, lately made entrenchments and batteries, which command 
the country for afar upon the left bank of the Mame, could, in 
the most favourable manner, support the fight of the sortie troops 
against the investing army. 

General Trochu himself took the chief Direction from the 
Chateau de Vincennes^ and early in the morning, had eight bridges 
laid over the bend of the Blame between Joinville and Nogent, 
by which the 1st and 2nd Corps of the Second Army went forward 
to attack the Wurtembergai» positions. The strength of the French 
troops was about 70,000 men. 

The attack of the French with the main body, over 50,000 
men, was made upon Champigny and Fidiers] with one Division, 
Susbielle's, further to the south, by Cr^teil, against Mesly and 

Upon the threatened part ^ the investment line, on the east 
side of Paris, the German advanced post positions were indicated 
by the places. Noisy le Grand, . Villiers, Champigny, Coeuilly, 
Chennevi^res, Sucy en Brie and Brevannes; and indeed the Saxons 
had occupied Noisy ^ and from 5 o'clock a.m., Champigny also, 
in relief of the Wurtembergers ; whilst on all the remaining points 
the Wurtembergers were stationed — Reitzenstein's Brigade at 
Villiers and Coeuilly^ StarklofTs Brigade at Sucy, and Scheler's 
Brigade at Brevannes. On the left, at^ Villeneuve St Georges. 
the 7th Prussian Infantry Brigade (du Trossers) joined the Wurtem- 
bergers. The collective sjirength of the Germans upon the threatened 
line amounted to about 17,000 men; of these, however, only about 
6000 men, namely Reitzenstein's Brigade and the Ist battalion of 
the Saxon 107th Infantry Regiment, were opposed to the main 
assault of the French, which was carried out witli 60,000 men. 

The only possibility of reinforcing these few troops was from 
the Saxon side, for the main body of the Wurtembergers, at Sucy 
and Brevannes, was itself attacked. Of the Saxon Coi^ps, howlever, 
the 24th Infantry Division stood with its out-posts from Chelles to 
Brie, and had the charge of acting as reserve both to tlie 23rd 


Infantry Division (Chelles to Clichy), and also to the Wurtem- 

As early as 5 oVlock a.m., immediately after the Saxon battalion 
had relieved the Wurtembergers in Champigny, the leading troops 
of the French rushed unexpectedly on the former and defeated it, 
after a violent struggle, with great losses. 

The main body of the French then crossed the Mame and 
assembled, under good cover, upon the plateau of the peninsular 
sloping down to the river, for the. assault against Villiers, whilst 
at the same time a fearful fire was kept up from the forts and 
entrenchments, over the whole of the ground occupied by the 

The park of Villiers^ with a wall certainly not more than 
1^/2 feet high, but sti*engthened by trenches and embankments, 
formed the main point of the defence. In front of the park lay 
orchards and vineyards which could be well defended, and which 
were also occupied by the Wurtembergers and the Saxon bat- 
talion. Coeuilly, moreover, was still held by the Wurtem- 

The fight against the French, pressing on in tenfold superior 
strength, was very hot, and the German performances were admir- 
able. The French did not succeed in taking Villiers, and the 
Wurtembergers even passed at times into the offensive. 

Neither did the French gain any advantages against Noisy 

le Grand and Coeuilly, upon the two flanks, but their thickly 

. placed heavy guns in the forts and entrenchments prevented the 

Wurtembergers from being successfully supported by the Saxons. 

An attack by the 24th Division against the flank of the main 
body of the French, to the north-west, of Villiers, offered every 
prospect of success, and was of course attempted. The greater 
part of the 24th Division was concentrated in rear of the line 
Noisy— Villiers, and Colonel von Abendroth, commander of the 48th 
Brigade, seeing that the height to the north-west of Villiers was 
menaced, made the 2nd and 3rd battalions of the 107th Regiment, 
the 3rd light battery and two squadrons of the 2nd Horse Regi- 
ment attack at this point. But in spite of a first success — the 
Saxons succeeded in routing the enemy and taking two guns—- 


these troops were unable to stay under the fire of the rifled guns; 
amid very great losses they were obliged to retreat, without being 
able to carry the two guns away with them (these two guns were 
represented as captured, in the French accounts of the victory), 
and six companies of the 104th Regiment were brought up to 
support them. Villiers itself, however, was reinforced from the 
south side, by a battalion of the 104th Regiment and the 3rd and 
4th light batteries, and towards 2 o'clock they succeeded in de- 
terring the French from attempting any further attacks. 

The attack g( Susbielle's Division, further to the south, en- 
countered immediately behind Mesty, Mont MeHy and Bonneuil 
(from where the advanced troops of the Wurtembergers had been 
driven away at 9 o'clock a.m.) the 2nd and 3rd Wurtemberg Bri- 
gades, supported by the 7th Prussian Brigade of the II. Army 
Corps, which had been brought up to Paris after the capitulation 
of Metz, and was cantonned in the south-east, in rear of the 
positions of the VI. Army Corps and the Wurtembergers. 


The French, here, had only a small numerical superiority 
and were repulsed at all points. At 1 o'clock, the original posi- 
tion was re-taken. 

Thus the sole advantage to the French, resulting from the 
whole soi*tie to the south-east, was the possession of the points 
Brie and Champigny with the heights between these two places ; 
an advantage any how, had they been able to continue their attacks, 
but now without value, for the severe cold of the coming night 
affected the troops, who encamped without blankets, to such an 
extent that no further attack could be attempted on the Ist of 
December. The day was passed in securing the wounded and 
burying the dead, as well as in fortifying the positions gained. 

It must also be observed, that a new description of war 
machine was made use of on the French side during the fight; 
two mailed Lowries, each with a heavy gun, were brought into 
position by an engine, also mailed, on the MUhlhause railroad 
against the German lines. The carriages were moveable on their 
axles, so that the muzzles of the guns could be brought into 
different directions. 

Upon the north front. Vice Admiral Ronci^re le Noiiry had 


made a demonstration on the 30th of November, and occupied 
Epinai. This circumstance which was comprised in a dispatch from 
General Trochu, with exaggerated and indistinct accounts of the 
fighting in the south-east, and sent off by balloon, gave occasion 
for proclamations and military measures on the Loire, most 
characteristic of Gambetta's sanguine temperament and his want 
of military judgment. 

Tlie balloon with Trochu's dispatch went off on the evening 
of the 30th of November and was driven out of its course, so 
that it came down at Belle Isle en Mer. From there the dispatch 
was telegraphed to Tours. The circumstance that the dispatch 
had not come direct by balloon, caused Gambetta to believe 
at first that it had come from Paris entirely by road, consequently 
after ' the German line of investment had been broken tlirough. 
Then the name of Epinai, gave him the idea that the Epinay 
which lies to the south-east of Longjumeau was meant, and h^ 
concluded that Ronci^re le Noury must be in command of the 
advanced guard of a sortie army, which, after a great victory, 
was on the point of establishing communications with the Loire 

In consequence of this, he issued proclamations on the 1st of 
December, saying the moment for France's tardy triumph was at 
hand, only a great effort by the Loire army was still necessary. 
General Trochu was at Brie with a victorious army of 150,000 
men, 20 kilometres from Paris (Brie is 3 kilometres from Fort 
Nogent), and Admiral Ronciere was already at Epinay, beyond Long- 
jumeau*), At the same time he gave orders to the Generals lo 
advance forthwith towards Paris. 

But on the 2nd of December, the successes of the 30th of 
November had been lost again. 

*) The words run thus : Cette m6me journee du 30 a donn^ lieu a une 
pointe vigoureuse de Tamiral de la Ronciere-le-Noury ; toujours dans la 
direction de THay et Chevilly, il s'est avaned sur Longjumeau et a enlev^ les 
positions d*£pinay au dela de Longjumeau, positions retranch^es des Prassiens. 




Not only did the French suffer greatly from the cold on 
the night of the dOth of November^ but also the Geiman troops 
who had fought so brilliantly during the day, and they too 
were fully occupied the next day in attending to the killed and 
wounded. Still measures were taken to meet energetically the fresh 
attack which it was expected would certainly be made this day; 
amongst others ^ the Saxon Artillery Corps was brought up, near 
to Villiers. The day, however, passed quietly, and dispositions 
were only made to drive the French completely away again from the 
Mame peninsula, on the following morning. General von Fransecky 
received the command for this, and brought some reinforcements 
to the Saxons and Wurtembergers from the U. and VI. Army 
Corps. On the French side, d'Ex^a's Corps was also brought over 
on to the left bank of the Mame. 

(Compare the map of the east front of Paris.) 

As early as 6 o'clock on the morning of the 2nd of December, 
consequently favoured by the darkness, a Saxon column, consisting 
of the 1st and 2nd battalions of Regiment 107, the 3rd battalion 
of Regiment 104, and the 4th pioneer company, pressed forward 
against Brie^ and a Wurtemberg column, Reitzenstein's Brigade, 
against Champigny, and the advanced guards carried both places 
by surprise.. 

At 8 o'clock, the fight was decided on both points in favour 
of the Germans (the Wurtembergers were further supported in it 
by a battalion of the 49tli Prussian Regiment), and several 
hundred prisoners had fallen into the hands of the Germans. 

As soon as the day had broke, a devastating cross fire was 
opened from all the forts and redoubts, and from. a great number 
of field and mitrailleuse batteries on the right bank of the Marne, 
upon the points occupied by the Germans, as well as the whole 




of thegronnd in rear, by which the reserves must approach. Soon after, 
the French infantry again took the ofifensive in overpowering masses, 
and after a desperate struggle with the battalions, who obstinately 
defended house after house in the villages, they again established 
the fight in their favour, although fresh troops from the II. Army 
Corps had joined in the action at Champigny. In Brie above 
400 Saxons, who would not give way, were taken prisoners, and 
Champigny Avas again for the most part occupied by the French. 
The attack was continued beyond both points, against ViUiers 
which was held by the Wurtembergers ; from Noisy the Saxon 
4th heavy battery was driven away by the cannon fire, and the 
battle-field of the 30th of November was again filled by about 
100,000 French. Nevertheless German valour and superior tactics 
gained the final victory. 

General von Fransecky united b;^ degrees about 50,000 men 
upon the critical points, for the purpose of a surrounding attack 
against the enemy, crowded together on the peninsula, which wa^ 
rendered possible by the formation of the ground. 

The 3rd Infantry Division, and the Artillery Corps of the 
II. Corps reinforced the centre, the left wing had already been 
reinforced by the 7th Infantry Brigade, and the 8th Infantry 
Brigade with a Brigade of the VI. Corps formed the reserves at 

Thus towards 4 o'clock p.m., after a sanguinary fight of 
many hours the enemy was forced to retreat. At this time Cham- 
pigny was again, for the greater part, in German hands ; at ViUiers 
and Coeuilly the superiority of the Germans was decisive, and Brie 
with the surrounding heights were alone in French power. 

The French, convinced of the hopelessness of further attacks, 
ceased firing, and also on the German side no fresh assault was 
attempted, as darkness had commenced. 

General Trochu decided upon a complete retreat on the 
following day ; in order to cover it he caused a Fresh attack to be 
made at Brie and Champigny on the morning of the 3rd of December, 
and meanwhile conducted the army bapk to the right bank of the 
Mai*ne. His loss, in the combats from the 30th of November to the 



3rd of December, amounted, according to French estimates, to 
more than 6000 men including 414 officers. 

The Germans hud lost in the four days about 5000 men. Of 
these the Wurtembergers suffered the greatest loss, 2019 men and 
61 officers; the Saxons 1096 men and 55 officers; and the II. Army 
Corps 1517 men and 89 officers. This loss is extraordinarily 
high. It was caused especially by the fire from the forts and 
entrenchments. It is a wonderful feat that victory was gained in 
spite of it, and notwithstanding the enormous numerical superiority 
of the French at times; the Wurtembergers carried off the finest 

A heavy blow was inflicted on the defence of Paris by the 
failure of this vigorous and obstinate soi*tie, which had been based 
on the imaginary advantages of the French Loire Army. The 
prospect of an independent rupture of the investing line from 
within had to vanish completely. 

It was the moment of a general great crisis for Paris, for 
on the same days, at the end of November and beginning of 
December^ in the north and also in the south the hopes of a 
relief were frustrated. 

The German Army from Metz, divided into two powerful 
columns, had drawn near when the danger was at its highest. 
On the 27th of November General von Manteuffel had beaten the 
French Northern Army, and on the 28th Prince Frederick Charles 
had led the first victorious conflict against the French Loire Army, 
at Beaune la Rolande. On the 2nd of December, began the victorious 
combats of the German Loire Army to the north of Orle^ans, 
which led to the occupation of this important city on the night 
of the 4th. 

Such successes could not but excite the hope, that the Govern- 
ment in Paris, perceiving the uselessness of resistance, would 
sun'ender the city. General von Moltke informed General Trochu 
by letter on the 5th of December, of the defeats of the Loire 
Army, and the occupation of Orleans, at the same time inviting 
him to send out an officer in order to ascertain the truth. 

General Trochu's situation, however, bore but a small resem- 
blance to that of a real commandant of a fortress; he gave an 


answer, of which the Parisians said : "il eut de Tesprit uiie fois 
en sa vie." With a caustic repetition of its expressions he in- 
formed General von Moltke of the receipt of his letter, and declined 
an enquiiy into the state of the case. 

Still each day made it more difficult for the city of Paris 
to maintain its haughty mien, and cold and hunger began to press 
severely on the population. Outside, however, the preparations 
for the bombardment were now seriously undeii;aken. The French 
nevertheless, in spite of their sad experiences on the 2nd of 
December, attempted another great sortie before the commencement 
of the bombardment, though certainly with little energy, as well as 
without any judicious strategical combination. For General Trochu 
could hardly reckon upon a co-operation with the Northern Army 
under General Faidherbe. 


On the 20th of December, preparations for a sortie, which 
would apparently be directed against the positions of the Garde 
Corps, were perceived by the German posts of observation. In 
the night of the 20th all the forts again opened a vigorous fire, 
and in the fore-noon of the 21st, Admiral Ronciere, leading on 
the marines and some other detachments, attacked Stains, Dugny 
and Le Bourget from St. Denis and Fort Aubervillers. His troops 
fought remarkably well, took Stains and Le Bourget, but before 
3 o'clock p.m., were completely repulsed by the Prussian Garde 
Corps. Upon this General Ducrot advanced, occupied Drancy 
and Le Groslay with strong masses, and opened fire with his 
artillery against Pont Ihlon and Le Blanc-Memil. He retired 
again however in the evening without attempting a serious attack.' 

Moreover, at midday, a Division had been led forward against 
Sovran, Chelles and Ville Evrart, but soon fell under the fire of 
the German batteries at Noisy-le- Grand, besides being attacked 


by the 24th (Saxon) Infantry Division and returned in the 
night of the 22nd after a protracted fight round Ville Evrart. 

Upon other points, Epinai near St. Denis and the peninsula 
of NanteiTe, demonstrations were made by the French. 

The day bad been without any favourable result for the 
French, but had led to considerable losses with the capture of 
above 1000 unwounded prisoners; on the German side the loss 
was far smaller; in spite of the unremitting fire of the forts, it 
amounted to about 500 killed and wounded, of which 14 officers 
and 400 men fell in the Garde Corps. 



It had become evident at the sorties in the end of November 
and during the fight on the 2nd of December, that Mont Avron, 
which the French had occupied with strong entrenchments and 
76 guns, was very troublesome to the investing troops upon the 
east front. In consequence of this, by directions from Versailles, 
the Crown Prince of Saxony at a conference, held at Le Vert 
Galant on the 18th of December, ordered the artillery attack 
upon this advanced point of the besieged, — the first offensive 
advance on the German side — , and that a demonstration should 
be made at the same time to divert the attention of the Parisians 
from the principal points of the projected artillery attack, to 
the heights of Meudon and Clamart, and the park of St. Cloud. 

By the 27th of December the siege batteries were completed 
by the pioneers of the Garde, IV. and XII. Corps, under the 
guidance of Major Klemm, in a line surrounding Mont Avron^ 
extending from the park of Raincy, and to the south of it, as far 
as the south-eastern slope of the heights of Pressoir (v. map of 
the east front of Paris), and were equipped with 76 heavy guns, 
rifled 24-pounders, rifled 12-pounder8 and mortars. 


At 7 oVlock in the morning of this day the fire was 

The effect of the fire, quite unexpected by the French, was 
considerable; it was returned indeed, but the commandant of 
Mont Avron, Colonel Stoffel, was convinced even on the first day 
that a lasting resistance against the German batteries, placed all 
round, was impossible. He had intended to abandon it. But 
in the defence of Paris military reasons were seldom of account 
Paris was pleased to think that Mont A.vron was one of the most 
important points of the fortifications, and the military authorities, 
satisfied that the Germans did not dispute their triumph in having 
occupied this place, had confirmed the population in their opinion. 

They were now unable, in opposition to the people, to give 
up Mont Avron without anything further, and applied forces to 
maintain it, which the object would not have been worth even had 
these forces been rightly employed. But the proper measures 
were also wanting. 

General d'Hugues, Commandant of the forts on the east 
front, collected above 20,000 men on the night of the 27th of 
December upon the imperilled plateau and in rear of it, in order 
to be able to resist the possible infantry attack of the enemy. 

The German patrols, however, brought information of the 
occupation on the morning of the 28th, and therefore the bombard- 
ment was continued. This resulted, in the withdrawal of the 
closely packed French troops in rapid flight, under heavy losses, 
and a general panic was spread in Paris, so that General Trochu 
further ordered the plateau to be evacuated. 

In the night of the 28th, after it had been impossible any 
longer to reply to the German fire during the day, all the guns 
were brought away with the exception of two dismounted 24- 
pounders; and on the morning of the 29th, when the Saxons took 
possession of the plateau, they found nothing but corpses and- 
ruins. The Bombardment of the Forts on the east front could 
now be commenced, and it was carried on with such good results 
on the 31st of December and 1st of January, that the French 
speedily evacuated their advanced positions on this front, and 
even on the latter day were no longer able to reply, to the re- 


cognized superiority of the German fire^ but contented themgelves 
with repairing the damages caused to the foists. 

Yet the besiegers did not approach the east front, for a de- 
monstration only was to be made here. 

Before Paris, the year 1870 came to an end amid zealous 
preparations for the bombardment, which commenced on the 5th 
of January 1871. 

After the defeats of the Loire and Northern Armies, the war 
had entered its final phase. 

In trophies of victory, Germany counted 4 Marshals, 11,160 
officers ; in non-commissioned officers and men, 333,885 unwonnded 
prisoners, and 4640 guns, 115 eagles and colours. Each of 
the fortresses of Mayence, Coblentz, Stettin, Erfurt, Magdeburg, 
Glogau, Neisse, Wesel, Cologne and Kolberg lodged in great 
camps 12,000, 15,000 up to 24,000 men, and many other small 
fortresses and open towns enclosed other less numerous divisions 
of the conquered French armies. 


JANUARY 1871. 



The bombardment of Paris began on the 5th of January 
1871. It was opened from the heights of Meudon, Clamart and 
Chatillon and from the park of St. Cloud, against the forts of 
Issy,/ Vanvres and Montrouge. 

For some months public opinion in Germany had demanded 
and urged its commencement. But the preparations necessary for 
this great undertaking required a long time, and besides, the 
German Army Direction would not begin the bombardment until 
the period had arrived when the sufferings of the besieged city 
had been so increased by hunger that the moral impression of 
the falling shot would perhaps bring the decisive result. 

The chief difficulty lay in the transport of the heavy guns 
and of the enormous stores of ammunition and implements, from 


the railway terminus, the station of Lagny, to Villa -Couhlay, 
where the siege park was formed. The distance, it is true, was 
only about 6 miles (27^/5 English miles), but just upon this tract 
of ground the tbmmunications had been destroyed by the Pansians, 
in several places, previous to the investment ; in particular the great 
Marne bridge at Lagny itself, which had to be replaced by a 
pontoon bridge above the former one. After all the destroyed 
communications liad been restored, the war material, the transport 
of which from its nature, required the gi*eatest caution, was brought 
to the place of its destination, upon country roads, by beasts of 

The construction of the batteries also was rendered very 
difficult in consequence of the chalky nature of the ground, the 
establishment of Battery No. 1 being particularly described as most 
laborious. Several batteries had to be very ingeniously erected 
behind cover, for they lay completely in the range of the fire 
from the forts. 

In the night of the 8rd of January, the batteries opposite 
the south-west fronts which were to open the fire, were finally 
equipped. They were the following (v. map II. of Paris): 

No. 1. Position: at St, Cloud. Aim: the Seine with its 
islands, and the works upon the peninsula Boulogne. Equipment: 
6 rifled 12-pounders. 

No. 2. Position: upon the terrace of Meudon. Aim: Bou- 
logne, Billancourt, and the upper Seine. Equipment: 8 rifled 
1 2-pounders. 

No. 3. Position: upon the teiTace of Meudon. Aim: Enfi- 
lading the south front and dismounting the west front of Fort 
dlssy. Equipment : 6 long rifled 24-pounder8. 

No. 4. Position: upon the terrace of Meudon. Aim: the 
same as No. 3. Equipment as No. 3. 

No. 5. Position: to the south of Clamart. Aim: enfilading 
the west front, dismounting the south front of Fort d'Issy. Equip- 
ment: 6 long rifled 24-pounders. 

No. 6. Position: at Porte Chatitlon. Aim: enfilading the 
west front and dismounting the south front of Fort de Vanvres. 
Equipment: 6 long rifled 24-pounders. 


No. 7. Position: to the east of Tour des Anglais. Aim: 
enfilading tiie west front and dismonnting the sonth-west bastion 
of Fort Issy. Equipment: 6 long rifled 24>poanderB. 

No. 8. Position: to the east of Battery 7. Ikim: dismount- 
ing the south-west front of Fort de Vanvres. Equipment: 6 long 
rifled 24-pounders. 

No. 9. Position: to the south of Battery 8. Aim: enfilading 
the west ft'ont and dismounting the south-west bastion of Fort 
de Vanvres. Equipment: 8 rifled 12-pounders. 

No. 10. Position: to the south-east of Battery 9. Aim: 
enfllading the west front and dismounting the south front of Fort 
de Vanvres. Equipment: 6 long rifled 24-pounder8. 

No. 11. Position: to the north-east of Fontenay, Aim: 
enfilading and dismounting the west front of Fort de Montrouge. 
Equipment: 8 rifled 12-pounders. 

No. 12. Position: to the south of Battery 11. Aim: the 
same as Battery 11. Equipment: 8 long rifled 24-pounders. 

No. 13. Position: near Battery 7, on the west. Aim: to 
bombard Fort Issy. Equipment: 2 21centimetre mortars. 

No. 14. Position: behind Batteries 8 and 9. Aim: to 
bombard Fort de Vanvres. Equipment: 2 21centimetre mortars. 

No. 15. Position: in Bagnetur. Aim: to bombard Fort 
Montrouge. Equipment: 2 21 centimetre mortars. 

No. 16. Position: terrace of Meudon. Aim: dismounting 
the gun emplacements to the west of Fort Issy. Equipment: 4 
rifled 12-pounders. 

No. 17. Position*: between Batteries 7 and 8. Aim: gun 
emplacements between Issy and Vanvres. Equipment: 6 rifled 

The fire from these 17 batteries was to have begun on the 
4th of January. 

The thick fog which in January so frequently impeded all 
distant views in the morning and evening, did not disperse at all 
on the 4th of January, ^nd delayed the commencement of the 
bombardment until the 5th of January, on which day the fire waB 
opened at 9 o'clock a.m. in bright weather. 















\ t 













No e£fect of a decided kind was produced upon the excellently 
built, strong forts. It is true that some of the buildings in the 
interiors were destroyed, also many an embrasure and many a gUB 
was dismounted; the superiority of the German artillery came out 
brilliantly, for even on the second day Fort Issy was no longer 
able to reply, and gradually the serving ti'oops in the other 
forts were also unable to continue holding out lastingly ; to 
destroy the fortifications so quickly was, however, not possible. 
The French stayed in the forts, covered themselves as well as 
they could, repaired the damages that arose and spared their fire 
in case the enemy should make a nearer approach. At the same 
time tltey began in a very skilful manner to alternate their fire. 
They had erected two batteries to the west of Fort Issy and also 
laid out some emplacements between Issy and Vanvres; as soon 
as they could no longer reply to the enemy^s fire in the forts 
themselves, they began to fire from the batteries mentioned, and 
if the German artillerymen fired upon the latter, the French began 
to fire again from the forts. Yet the bombai*dment on the German 
side had, at all events, gained the advantage of being able to 
bombard the city itself from some of the batteries, from the 8th 
of January , without its being possible for the French fire to 
prevent it. 

By the 14th of January the besiegers had . constructed five 
new batteries Nos. 18 to 22, and ceased firing from No. 4 on 
the 8th of January, No. 6 on the 9th and Nos. 10 and 11 on 
the 11th. 

No. 18 j (6 long rifled 24-pounders) lay to the west of 
Bagnetuv. Aim: dismounting Fort de Montrouge. The fire com- 
menced on the 8th of January. 

No. 19, (4 long rifled and 4 short rifled 24-pounders) lay 
to the east of Fleury, and on the 9th of January, began dis- 
mounting and breaching the south-west bastion and the south-west 
curtain of Fort Issy, and dismounting the enceinte of the city. 

No. 20, (6 long rifled 24-pounders) to the west of Clamart, 
to the south of Notre Dame de Clamart, commenced on the 10th 
of January dismounting the south front and the left face of the 
north-west bastion of Fort Vanvres. 


No. 21, (6 short rifled 24-pounders) lay to the west of Cha- 
tillon^ and on the 14th of January began dismounting and de- 
molishing the south front of Fort Vanvres. 

No. 22 (6 long rifled 24-pounderB) lay to the west of No. 18, 
and on the 14th began to take over the aims of No. 11. 

Although, however, the interior of the city was only fired 
upon from the 8th of January, still even in the earlier days single 
shots had flown far beyond the forts. They fell in the arrondis- 
sem^nts of Vaugirard, Passy, and even at far greater distances, near 
the Panth^n, Luxembourg and the. Hotel des Invalides to beyond 
the Boulevard St. Germain. 

The population of Paris received these first rifled * cannon 
shot, as well as later those thrown much more frequently and 
designedly, with a kind of curiosity and scorn, and also with 
indignation at the ^barbarians"; but the bombardment decidedly 
made no deep impression. The government was even obliged 
to publish a proclamation, drawing attention to the danger of 
running together in places where a shell had fallen, because the 
people lost sight of all danger in order to snatch a .splinter. 
A tolerable number of persons were no doubt killed and wounded, 
and a quantity of people moved away from the endangered to the 
safe parts of the city, but this number was not great enough to 
cause any confusion, or the partial want of dwelling accom- 

The material damage was small. The city was too large 
and the buildings were too solid. 

It may be concluded how insignificant the number of injured 
buildings was in comparison with the whole mass, for after the 
devastations of the French bombardment during the civil war, and 
after the conflagrations of the Commune, the total number of houses 
destroyed besides public buildings, such as the Tuileries, Hotel 
de Ville.etc., only amounted altogether to 200, thus only a third 
part of the number of houses which Haussmann, the Prefect of 
the Seine , had the charge of pulling dpwn annually for beauti- 
fying purposes, under the Imperial government. 

By German shot probably very few, perhaps only isolated 
buildings, were destroyed inside the enceinte; it was not until the 


22nd of January that fires were perceived in the city, and fire 
is the special agent of destruc^on in a bombardment ; the immediate 
efficacy of the shot can only be material with very slightly built 
houses. If therefore the bombardment had been continued until 
the capitulation of Paris, there is still no reason to conclude that 
this would have been the result of the bombardment. 

Paris fell by starvation, and in the German Head-Quarters, 
the chief authority had no doubt from the commencement as to 
the right means of obtaining the end, although public (pinion was 
taken into account. 

The Parisians attempted some further small attacks in January, 
and one sortie in large masses. They first attacked the German 
outposts on the morning of the 10th of January near Clamart, 
and were driven back; then in the night of the 12th an attack, 
in the strength of perhaps a brigade, followed upon the south- 
west front against the dangerous batteries upon •the heights of 
Meudon and ClamarL The sortie was very soon repulsed. 

Then, late in the evening of the 13th, some detachments once 
again broke forth against the much contested village of Le Bourgety 
upon th'e north front. This sortie was also beaten back with little 


On the 19th of January, however, above 100,000 men were 
developed, for a last desperate struggle upon the south-west front, 
with the intention of attacking Versailles. 

United round Mont Val^rien in three gi'eat masses under the 
chief command of General Trochu himself, at 8 o'clock a.m. the 
centre column pressed forward against GarcheSj under General 
Bellemare; the column of the left wing, under General Vinoy, 
against Montretoui] and after a very disadvantageous delay of 
three hours, the column of the right wing, under General Ducrot, 
by BuzenvaL 

The late arrival of the last column, caused partly by a de- 


fective execution of the dispoBitions, and partly by the fire of the 
German cannon from the right ban% of the Seine ^ at once caused 
a vacillation in the whole sortie. The troops in the centre and 
on the left wing only advanced slowly, for they waited for the 
support of the right wing, and when they met with the tough 
resistance of the 10th Infantry Division B.t,GarckeSy a long con- 
tinued stationaiy fight was developed even here. 

On the German side the troops standing nearest, the 9th and 
21st Infantry Divisions, acting' as reserves to the 10th, the Garde- 
landwehr Division and the L Bavarian Corps, were moved forward 
towards Versailles. 

Still the French did not succeed in coming up so far that it 
was necessary to employ these two last bodies of troops. They 
were- unable to overcome the resistance of the Germans in Garches, 
and satisfied themselves with occupying the heights lying in front, 
from which the German advanced posts were driven away. They 
took possession of the entrenchment of Montretout, which was only 
weakly occupied by the Germans. Towards 2 o'clock p.m., how- 
ever, two battalions of the King's Grenadier Regiment and one 
battalion of the 59th Regiment made a successful advance, and, 
at dark, completely threw back the French near Garches, The 
entrenchment of Montretout was re-taken at 11 o'clock p.m. by 
battalions of the 47th, 58th and 82nd Regiments. The loss of 
the Germans amounted to 616 men and 39 officers. The loss of 
the French was extraordinarily great; it amounted to about 7000 
men. General Trochu maintained that the majority of the wounded 
had suflfered from the awkwardness of the Gardes Nationaux, who 
had continually fired upon their own troops. This is indeed pos- 
sible. The Garde Nationale, who had unceasingly demanded, 
during the whole siege, that the Governor should employ the other 
troops in sorties, was this day led out for the first time, and may 
probably not have possessed the sangfroid necessary to distinguish 
between friend and foe. 

Thus ended the last sortie which the Parisians attempted, 
their last desperate attempt, still more deplorable than all that 
had preceded it. 

The continual failure of the offensive undertakings was 


naturally founded ^ in general y on the great superiority In the 
quality of the German troops, and in their excellent defensive 
positions occupied by a numerous field artillery. Yet two special 
circumstances which impeded the success of the sorties appear 
prominently. In the first place , enormous labour and time were 
required to bring together the badly ' disciplined French troops, 
provided with few serviceable officers. It was even necessary to 
assemble the troops for a sortie the day before, in order to have 
them on the spot at the right time. This however, .naturally, 
fatigued the soldiers before the fight, and in November, December 
and January they were benumbed and dispirited by the severe 

Then secondly, the unavoidably noisy and visible preparations 
for the concentration of these troops, made the German posts of 
observation aware of the enemy's undertaking so early, that in 
most cases, the army of investment was able to make arrangements 
for the reception of the enemy quite undisturbed. 

Frequently, even, dispatches from Versailles gave information 
in Germany, that a sortie would take place on the following day. 
Thus undertakings, where a surprise was the main condition of 
success, could not possibly have a fortunate result. 

On the 21st of January, after the bombardment upon the 
south'west front and the east front had been continued for sixteen 
days, a bombardment of the fortifications on the north front 
(v. map of the north front of Paris) was also begun, combined 
with the bombardment of the town of Sl Denis, Here the Ger- 
man shot had far greater success than in Paris itself, and con- 
flagrations could be observed in St. Denis even on the second day. 

Still the bombardment here, as on the east f^'ont, had more 
the character of a demonstration. 

Upon the south-west front, too, where the serious attack was 
made, it succeeded before the 11th of Jaiiuary In setting fire 
to the barracks of Forts Issy^ Vanvres and Montrouge, and 
destroying the greater part of them. 

On the 14th of January these forts were almost entirely 
silenced, but took up the fire again later. On the 12th of January 
the batteries of the city enceinte (v. map of the south-west front 


of Pafifl) at Paint du JouTy began to fire very vigorouBly opon 
battery No. 1 at St. Cloud. The German batteries, in a short 
time, always attained the superiority when, on the French side, 
new batteries were brought into action, or the forts re-opened 
fire; nevertheless the bombardment would probably have had to 
be continued some time longer for the preparation to appear suf- 
ficient for a formal attack or an assault. 

However the interior condition of Paris, and France's military 
situation everywhere, made such measures no longer necessary. 

On the 23rd of January negotiations for an armistice 
commenced, which had so far prospered on the 2Qth, that from 
12 o'clock at night the cannon fire on both sides was stopped. 

The population of Paris had an*ived at a state of privation, 
from the siege now lasting 129 days, which, without a fresh 
supply of provisions and fuel , must lead within the short space 
of eight to fourteen days, to the death of many thousands from 
exhaustion. Bread and horse flesh, which for weeks had only been 
given out in rations by the government, were first reckoned at 
300 grammes fcrr each person, and at last at 30 gi*ammes, and 
added to this the bread was of an uninviting composition. 

The ''Commune" bestin^ed itself afresh on the night of the 
21st and on the 22nd of January, in a revolutionary attempt 
under Flourens's direction. 

Every hope of a successful sortie had disappeared after the 
defeat of the 19th of January, and when the repeated overthrows 
of the former Loire Army at Le Mans, of the Northern Army at 
St. Queutin and of the Eastern Army at Belfort became known, 
all hope of relief from without vanished. 

Thus the Government at last decided upon negotiations which 
had for their object the capitulation of Paris, but an armistice at the 
same time which was to be regarded as a preliminary to peace. 

After the failure of the sortie on the 19th, General Ti'ochu, 
under the pressure of general distrust, had resigned the Chief 
Command, but still remained President of the Government; thus 
he kept faithful to his assertion, that the Governor of Paris would 
never capitulate. Jules Favre conducted the negotiations with 



Count Bismarck^ and on the 28th of January concluded the 

This formed part of the Convention of f^ersatlles*) and 
determined the occupation of all the forts of Paris by the Ger- 
man Army^ the disarmament of the French Line Army, Garde 
Mobile and Marine troops^ who aUo became prisoners of war, 
and the immediate re-provisioning of Paris. The Garde Nationale, 
however, were to keep their arms and undertake the maintenance 
of order in the city; the German Army was not to occupy Paris 
during the armistice. 

These last resolutions must have been repented of later by 
the German government, but still more by the French government, 
which, untaught by four-and-a-half months experience, opposed to 
the utmost the better judgment and urgent desire of Count Bismarck. 

When the Garde Nationale, which was to keep order in Paris, 
seized the power with armed hands and brought on the civil war, 
Jules Favre exclaimed in despair : "The German government wanted 
these men to be disarmed, and I opposed it. 1 call upon God and 
men to witness my repentance!" 

Differing in all its phenomena from the phases through which 
ordinary sieges pass, and surpassing the measure of foimer warlike 
occurrences, the siege of Paris found a worthy conclusion in most 
unusual conditions of capitulation. 

*} See the tenor of the conveotioo at the close of the bookft 


The Attempts for the Relief of Pabis. 

As the dangers which threatened France increased, the attempts 
for the relief of Paris, undertaken on the French side, grew in 
magnitude and energy. In the commencement of the war with 
the Republic, the meaanres for the Defence were confined to the 
limits, fixed and prepared by the Imperial government, for raising 
troops from the people; the government of the National Defence 
was satisfied with the formation of regiments de marche from 
depot battalions, and time served soldiers, as well as with the 
formation and instruction of the Garde Mobile and Garde Na- 
tionale. But ajfter the fall of Metz and when the war -experienced 
Corps of Prince Frederick Charles threatened to spread over the 
interior of France, by forced marches in the direction of Orleans 
in the south, and Amiens in the north, GambeHtty who at that 
time led the government with dictatorial power, took measures 
which bore great similarity to the levies of the year 1793. 
Only, the numerous armies of the republic of 1870 did not meet 
with the success of the armies of 1793, because this time the 
war direction of the enemy was not divided and dilatory, and 
encumbered with obsolete maxims, and did not leave time for the 
undrilled masses to become bodies of troops. 

When we see, however, that in spite of such unfavourable 
circumstances, and of a fool-hardy dictator, the newly organized 
republican armies were nevertheless able to oppose the best army 
in the world, again and again, in the open field, although always 

of the 

I I 


conquered; and to deliver a hundred fights, although no pitched 
battle, we must willingly allow that the French nation, full of ardent 
patriotism, has rendered itself worthy of esteem. 


(v. map of the operations of the Loire Armies.) 

The attention of the German War Direction was directly draM^n 
to the actual existence of a Loire Army^ the formation of which it 
is true had been known for some time, through the reconnaissances 
of Prince Albert* s Cavalry Division, in the beginning of October, 

At that time the whole French army on the Loire, consisted 
of one Army Corps, which bore the number 15 (Nos. 13 and 14 
were in Paris). General de la Motterouge was in command; it 
numbered about 10,000 men of the regular" infantry, an equal 
number of Gardes Mobiles, 4000 men of the Francs-tireurs , the 
cavalry regiments still existing, 2500 hoi*semen, and perhaps 
8000 men of the artillery and train; altogether about 30,000 

On the 5th of October, this small army moved out from 
Orleans for a reconnaissance in the direction of Paris, and en- 
countered the German cavalry. It would surely have been wiser 
if de la Motterouge had not shown himself, but had kept con- 
cealed as much as possible behind the Loire, until his army had 
become stronger ; for the cavalry had no sooner brought the report 
to Versailles, than General von der Tann was sent oif from there 
towards the south (compare page 291). 

The valley of the Loire offered superior strategical advantages 
to a French Army, which was gradually to reinforce itself, in 
order, ultimately, to advance towai'ds Paris. The Loire, a powerful 
stream bordered on its right bank, in the tract of country from 
Gien to Orleans, by the wide-extended forest of Orleans, very 
difficult for troops; and on the left bank, in its whole bend as 
far as Blois, by the marshy, barren, roadless Sologne, formed an 



important line, which drew a sharply defined limit to the opera- 
tions of the Germans from Paris. Upon the road from Paris to 
Tours, either by Chateaudun or by Orl^ns, expeditions would 
scarcely have now been attempted on the part of the Germans, 
because weak detachments dared not venture so deep into the 
country occupied by the enemy, and strong detachments could 
only be furnished by the investing army under urgent necessity. 
When therefore General de la Motterouge ventured forward beyond 
Orleans, probably at the instigation of the delegation in Tours, 
he drew attention to himself quite unnecessarily, and occasioned 
the occupation of ike town of Orlians on the part of the 

The great importance of this town was fully appreciated by 
the Germans, but, in spite of it, the task of a lasting occupation 
could not devolve on Prince Albert's Cavalry Division. This 
charge was for General von der Tami, with a whole Army De- 

The situation of the town, in a strategical point of view, 
is as if made for a fortress, which should secure the south of 
France and prevent the siege of Paris. 

Orleans commands the principal passage over the Loire, and 
unites the railroads from Nantes, Bordeaux and Toulouse, as well 
as the central line which connects Lyons with Paris by Bourges. 
An efficient army placed here, which could constantly be rein- 
forced from the south, might render a siege of Paris almost 
impossible, by continually threatening the besiegers. 

The town possesses rich resources within itsdf, and has 
about 70,000 inhabitants, a most well-to-do population. 

If France had been able to reckon uf^on a war such as this, 
Orleans would surely have been made a fortress. 



General von der Tann approached the town on the 11th of 
October with the I. Bavarian Corps, the 22nd Infantry Division, 
and the 4th and 2nd Cavalry Divisions, after having defeated the 
advanced troops of the French at Artenayj on the previous day. 
The 22nd Division, covered by the 4th Cavalry Division on the 
right flank, marched by Hu^tre and Bonlay upon Ormes, the 1st 
Bavarian Corps advanced in the centre, and upon the left flank 
the 2nd Cavalry Division drew near by the edge of the great 

' General de la Motteroage held possession of the country to the 
north of Orleans, where favourably situated hills, covered with vines, 
formed natural capabilities for defence, which he had strengthened by 
entrenchments. The first ^ fight took place between Boulay and 
Ormes ; after it had lasted for some hours, and reinforcements had 
been concentrated upon this pointy on both sides, de la Motterouge 
ordered the retreat. The French retired upon the town and from 
there to the lefl; bank, but still held the outskirts of the suburbs 
for a short time, so that some batteries were brought into position 
at Ingr^ and bombarded the town. Very soon after this the 
town authorities appeared to announce a peaceable submission. 
The French Army dr.ew back upon Bonrges and Vierzon, 

Orleans was occupied by the Germans on the evening of 
the lllh of October y and became, with the surrounding country, 
a rich and tranquil cantonment for a time. From here General von 
der Tann sent out the 22nd Division and Prince Albert's Cavalry 
Division towards the north-west, to suppress the movements of 
the people there. On the 19th of October a hot fight took place 
in Chateaudtoiy between these troops and about 4000 French, in 
which this barricaded place was almost entirely destroyed. The 
march was then continued upon Chartres, where a strong position 
was taken up. ' 



General de la Motterouge was immediately deprived of his 
command by Gambetta (who had amved in Tours a few days 
before)^ although he had done his duty thoroughly. He was re- 
placed in the command of the Loire Army by Gener&l (t^uretle 
de PaladineSy who was furnished by degrees with considerable 
reinforcements, the 16th Corps and parts of the 17th Corps, and 
received the mission of re-taking Orleans at any price. 

At the end of October General d'Aurelle had concentrated 
about 40,000 men at Vienson^ with a tolerably numerous artil- 
lery; these were to be reinforced by 20,000 men from Tours, 
and the whole would then be thrown between General von der Tann's 
detachments, standing 8 miles, (nearly 37 £nglish miles) distant 
from one another, in order to fight them singly if possible, or to 
surround and capture the poi*tion stationed at Orleans. 

The main body of the French Army was to be directed from 
Vierzon upon Beaugency, to encompass Orleans from the west; 
another division, in the centre, was to make a demonstration only, 
against Orleans, from the south to keep the Germans in the town ; 
the right wing, principally composed of cavalry, was to cross the 
Loire at St. B^nott, above Orleans, to enclose the town from 
the east. 

The whole French plan was, however, wrecked by Gambetta's 
injudicious interference.. By his command, the troops, concentrated 
at Vierzon on the 2nd of November, were not to reach Beaugency 
by marching, but to travel by rail through Tours. In spite of 
d'Aurelle's objections this took place, and by this means, not only 
was there a loss of three days in time, but also the German 
cavalry remarked the trains continually following one another, and 
General von der Tann received timely information*). 

On the 7th of November the movements of the French be- 

*) In this assertion the author relies upon the accounts in "Militarische 
Gedanken und Betrachtungen" by the author of '*Krieges um Metz" (a Prus- 
sian General), a work whose profound researches merit the deepest study. 


came clear to the General, and although he was unable to bring 
up the 22nd Division quickly enough, yet he baffled the enemy 
by evacuating Orleans on the dth of November and taking up a 
position at CoulmierSy which made a forcible separation of his 
divisions impossible. 

The French, who had failed in encompassing Orleans, owing 
to the slow execution of their movements, advanced to the west 
of it. 

Consequently, on the 9th of November, an encounter took place 
at Coulmters. 

General d'Aurelle very judiciously made his numerous artillery 
operate chiefly against the enemy, whilst he did not employ his 
infantry in offensive attacks. Thus his young troops gained con- 
fidence, when, they finally saw the enemy retreat at dusk. 

General von der Tann had no intention of here making an 
obstinate resistance against the foe, perhaps four times superior in 
numbers; he retired upon St. P^ravy, Artenay and Toury, At 
the last place, which he reached on the evening of the 10th of 
November, the General halted, and brought up the 22nd Division 
in the night. 

General d^Aurelle did not follow him, for correctly estimating 
the small advantage gained and the quality of his troops, it did 
not appear to him advisable, even now, to being the French army 
very near to the great German army round Paris. He contented 
himself with the occupation of Orleans, and took up a strong 
waiting position in order to oppose the German forces which had 
been newly reinforced, on the 11th of November, by the arrival 
of the 17th Division. 


Gambetta, on the other hand, pushed on with precipitate 
haste, the reinforcement of the Loire Army, whose CommaAder in 
Chief, whose bravery, and whose victory he thought he could not 
sufficiently extol. 


The French active forces at that time appear to have been 
as follows: 

' In the middle of October France had been divided into four 
general governments, with fonr chief commands: Ist the North, 
with the head-quarters at Lille, 2nd the West, with the head- 
quarters at Le Mans, 3rd the Centre, with the head -quarters at 
Bourges, and 4th the East, with the head-quarters at Besangon. 
Within these general governments the previous distribution in terri- 
torial military divisions was continued, and the forces already 
called up under the Empire, time-served soldiers, Gardes Mobiles 
etc., were organized and drilled under the guidance of the chiefs 
of these militaiy districts. 

Moreover Gambetta had recently, on the 2nd of November, 
in desperation at the fall of Metz, set on foot a decree of the 
delegation at Tours, according to which all men from 20 to 40 
years of age, still free, were to be enrolled in the army. This 
decree was more fully defined and enlarged in the next few days ; 
the men already previously enrolled were to form a first levy, 
those called in by the decree of the 2nd of November a second 
levy, and this second was to be again subdivided into three 
categories according to age, which would not be summoned all at 
once, but one after another. It commenced with the first Ban, men 
from 21 to 30 years of age, then the second Ban, men from 31 
to 35, and lastly the thiM Ban, men from 36 to 40. In order to 
transfoim the great masses of men, which the successive levies of 
the three bans must bring together, into bodies of troops, Gam- 
betta, on the 25th of November, decreed the formation of eleven 
camps of instruction and defence, at St. Omer, Cherbourg, La 
Rochelle, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Montpellier, Marseilles, Lyons, 
Clermont-Ferrand, Nevers and Conlie. By degrees the recruits 
called in according to the above-named categories and the time- 
served soldiers would be collected in these camps, and there drilled, 
and at the same time formed into armies. In view of the great 
multitude of men composing all these levies, the number of which 
might be calculated at a million and a half, the camps would 
have to be very large, each prepared for 60,000 to 250,000 men. 

The generals who commanded under the republic, were for 


the most part, old officers, who had already retired from 
active service, but now entered again on active service (de la 
Motterouge and d'Aurelle de Paladines); partly marine officers, and 
partly also junior Generals who had been recalled from Algiers. 
To the last belonged General Faidherbe, Commander of the Northern 
Army in December and January. 

Gambetta's plan, considered by itself, appears judicious and 
grand. But — it required at least two years time and some 
thousands of superior officers, to carry it out. In Dace of the 
situation of affairs as they were in reality, it was the pursuit of a 

Not that Gambetta could have found an organization more- 
conformable to the purpose, but — resistance generally was a 
sin against the prosperity of the country. 

The situation of affairs imperiously demanded peace for France; 
there were no means of carrying on the war without iiguring the 
country in a high degree. After the army had been destroyed, 
further resistance was impossible, or ought not to have l^en made, 
in opposition to the active and powerful enemy; and no great 
statesman, no great organizer and general would have attempted 
it. No genius could now help France. Gambetta made the 

The occupation of Orleans and the fight at Goulmiers having 
inspired him with fresh courage, he was now anxious, above all 
things, for an immediate advance against the investing army of 
Paris, in order to effect the relief before Prince Frederick Charles 


could approach from Metz. 

But in order, for the moment, to reinforce General d'Anrelle 
sufficiently to enable him to attempt the relief of Paris, the decree 
of the 2nd of November was still of no use; those troops only 
could be reckoned on which had already been organized for weeks 
and months. It is true their training was still, very defective, 
but' the great number of old soldiers gave tolerable steadiness to 
the rest. All were well armed, the artillery was numerous, and 
even in cavalry, some serviceable corps had been newly formed 
besides the imperial regiments still existing. 

Gambetta, under the pressure of neeessity, consequently inter- 


nipted all farther hiBtraction^ collected the detachments from all 
the towii» and camps of the south and west^ and at the end of 
November, brought together an army round Orleans which numbered 
260,000 combatants, and might be capable of causing some anxiety 
at the German Head-Quarters. 

Everything now depended upon Prince Frederick Charles's ap- 
pearing at the right time; otherwise the adv-ance of such a numerous 
army, combined with a soii;ie en masse from Paris, might have 
perilous consequences for the investment of the city. 

The evacuation of the town of Orleans had, already, been a 
disagreeable event for the German War Direction, less from the 
impoi*tance of the thiug itself, than on account of the moral im- 
pression which it exercised upon the French people. 

Not only was Paris mad with joy and prepared for a sortie 
with fresh courage, but the tidings of victory flew through the 
whole of France, and soon lost all similarity to General d'Aurelle's 
moderate report. Everywhere a change in the fortunes of war 
was hailei, even Versailles, which was occupied by the German 
head-quarters and in the midst of the powerful German army, 
raised her head. 


Immediately after the announcement of the retreat of General 
von der Tann, a reinforcement of the troops to the south of Paris 
was ordered /from Versailles, whilst, at the same time. Prince 
Frederick Charles received orders to approach by forced marches 
in order to be able to strike in between Paris and the Loire. 
At that time, the Prince was, with his corps, in the neighbourhood 
of Troyes, and to the north of the Aube and Seine. 

On the 9th of November the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg- 
Schwerin led the 17th Division, which had been stationed in the 
line of investment, opposite Fort Charenton and the village of 
Gi*6teil, since the lOth of October, to the assistance of General 


von der Tann's Army Detachment^ towards Angerville y and on 
the 11th of November assumed the chief command of the bodies 
of troops^ now united together: — the I. Bavarian Corps ^ 22nd 
Division, 17th Division, and 2nd and 4th Cavalry Divisions. . 

As to the intentions of the enemy nothing could, at first, be 
known for certain, for the French, as yet too weak for a decisive 
advance, fortified tlfeir position round Orleans and made very 
skilful demonstrations in order to decoy the German Aimy Detach- 
ment from the road to Paris and towards the west. General 
d'Aurelle made detachments of the corps, stationed at Le Mans, 
march upon Cha^res and Dreux for this purpose. 

The demonstration, at first, completely succeeded in its object. 
Upon the accordant reports that French detachments were ap- 
proaching Paris from Normandy and Brittany, the Grand Duke, 
believing perhaps that this might be the army of K6ratry (who 
had left Paris on the 6th of October in the same way as Gambetta, 
and who was known to be organizing an army in Brittany), com- 
pletely changed his front from the south to the west; made the 
17th Division, upon the right wing, march, on the 15th of No- 
vember, from Angerville to Dreux ^ by Auneau, BambouiUet and 
Maintenon, and directed the 22nd Division, which was followed 
by the Bavarian Corps, upon Chateauneuf en Thimerais. (The 
17th Division was commanded by the Adjutant General, Lieutenant 
General von Tresckowy from the 16th of November, in place of 
Lieutenant General von Schimmelmann, invalided.) 

On the 17th of November, the 17th Division came upon the 
enemy near Dreux j defeated him after a fight of about three 
hours, and took the town. On the 18th the 22nd Division took 
Chateauneuf] on the 19th it was engaged with French detachments 
beyond this place, and on the 21st occupied La Loupe after in- 
considerable fighting. 

Now, however, the Grand Duke learnt that the enemy had 
not retired towards the west, but to the south-west upon Le 
Mans, He endeavoni*ed to keep feeling with the quickly retiring 
detachments, once again changed his front and, after a wheel to 
the left, pressed forward against Le Mans. On the 21st different 
small fights took place to the south of La Loupe, on the 22nd 


Nogent'le-Rotrou was occupied , and on the 23rd and 24th of 
November, the Grand Duke continued Mb march as far as La Ferte 
Bernard. Here, however, he received commands from the King's 
Head-Quarters to proceed no further in the direction of Le Mans 
and to march towards the east; soon after he also received direc- 
tions from Prince Frederick Charles — who in the meanwhile had 
come up by Troyes, Sens and Fontainebieau, Und was approaching 
the theatre of war round Orleans to take the chief command of 
all the German forces in the south — to march upon Orl^ns 
and endeavour to unite with the Prince's army. From La Fert^ 
Bernard, the Grand Duke, therefore, continued his zig-zag march 
towards Chateaudun; but in this march he met with still another 
passing intermption, for in Bazoches the report suddenly reached 
the Grand Duke that a French Corps was stationed at Brou^ thus 
in rear of the Army Detachment. The march was directed upon 
Brou, a collision took place with an isolated detachment of the 
enemy, of which there were several wandering about at that time, 
and it was then continued, in order to lead to the junction with 
the Prince on the 1st of December at Orghres and Touryj the 
starting point for the operations against the west. 



Whilst the Grand Duke was executing his marches in the 
west, General d'Aurelle had drawn together almost all the rein- 
forcements, which at that time could be placed at his disposal, 
in the south; namely the 17th Corps (General Durieux), the 19th 
(General Barral) and the 20th (General Crouzat), so that with the 
15th Corps (General Pallieres) and the 16th (General Chanzy), as 
well as a Cavalry Corps (General Michel) which had been stationed 
at Orl^ns since the middle of November, he united under his 
command an army of about 200,000 combatants. 

There were in addition still two corps in reserve, the 21st 


under K^ratry, in rear of the left wing, and the 18th under 
Bourbaki at Nevers, in rear of the right wing. (General Bourbaki, 
commandant of the 18th Corps had escaped the capitulation of 
Metz in an accidental and wonderfbl manner.) 

Prince Frederick Charles — a Field Marshal^ like the Crown 
Prince of Prussia , since the capitulation of Metz — brought up 
three Army Corps^ the III., IX. and X. as well as the 1st Cavalry 
Division, whilst another part of the former investing army of Metz, 
the I. and YIU. Army Corps and the 3rd Cavalry Division, under 
the command of General von Manteuffel had turned against the 
French Northern Army and of the remidnder, the II. and VU. 
Army Corps, the former moved off to Paris and the latter remained 
behind provisionally for the occupation of Metz, and the siege of 
Thionville. Both, at last, formed General von ManteuffePs army, 
which drove Bourbaki's troops over the Swiss frontier. 

General d^Aurelle had his large army upon a line of 
considerable lengthy on the right bank of the Loire , in part 
quite concealed from the reconnaissances of the Germans, by 
the extensive forests of Orlians and Marchenoir, and distributed 
in a manner y that even now allowed the subsequent division 
of the army into two parts to be foreseen. 

And indeed it appears that such a division was intended 
for the advance upon Paris, 

General d'Aurelle might probably have wished to avoid a great 
decisive battle with Prince Frederick Charles, and therefore had 
the plan of marching upon Paris by two roads, far distant from 
one another, in order to deceive the enemy and to reach Paris 
with at least one half of the army. 

At the time of the first collision with Prince Frederick Charles, 
the French corps stood partly concentrated on the right wing be- 
hind the forest of Orleans, and partly on the left wing to the 
west of Orleans. Certainly, the exact position of this left wing is 
not known, but it appears to have stood somewhere between 
Chateaudun and Venddme. At all events the centre, in .front of 
the town of Origins itself, was only weak, and the right wing, 
whose position and strength were known from the fights on the 
24th of November, was not so strong and so far distant from the 


centre without intention. D'Anreile appears on the contrary ^ to 
have had the design ef turning the Prince's army, which came 
from the north-east by Fontainebleau and Joigny, upon himself, 
in order to occupy it and detain it in the forest of Orleans, whilst 
the left wing was moved forward by Chateaudun and Chartres. 

Prince Frederick Charles must have suspected some such plan. 
He developed his forces cautiously, guarded himself well against 
engaging too many troops in opposing the French right wing, or 
of following it into the forest, and likewise unfolded a very ex- 
tended front, which commanded the whole country between Orleans 
and Paris, from Beaune la Rolande as far as Chateaudun. Thus 
it came to pass, that the fights which led to the name of the 
"battle of Orleans", were fought upon a front of about 6 miles 
(27^5 English miles), in extent, a disproportionately long line in 
comparison with the strength of both armies. 



The first action between the two Loire Armies, took place 
between a part of the French right wing, the 20th Corps, and 
the Prince Field Marshal's left flank column, the X. Army Corps, 
to the north of the great forest of Orleans, as the German army 
developed itself, fronting south, to advance against Orleans. The 
X. Army Corps, which crossed the river Loing on the 21st at 
Montargis in the direction of Pithiiners had the task of uniting 
around Beaune la Rolande on the 24th of November, and, in con- 
junction with the Hessian Cavalry Brigade, of carrying out recon- 
naissances against the enemy, whose presence at Gien on the Loire 
and to the north of this -town, was known. 

In order to reach Beaune, where the remainder of the Corps, 
under General Voigts-Rhetz, had already an*ived, Valentini's Brigade, 
with the Artillery corps advanced from Montargis, and Lehmann's 
Brigade, by Ladon, towards the west, when the French broke 


forth out of the forest of Orleans, in three heavy columns 30,500 
men in strength, likewise in the direction of Beaune, with the 
object of crossing the march of the two brigades, consisting of 
about 12,000 men. The brigades developed towards the left flank ; 
the artillery corps was brought on towards Beaune, and a vigorous 
offensive was opposed to the enemy's attack. Lehmann's Brigade 
took Ladofij Valentini*s MaizibreSy and the two united then threw 
the enemy back upon Beilegarde, After the fight was ended the 
march was continued upon Beaune, and the intended junction was 
carried out. 

The loss of the Germans amounted to 13 officers, and 220 
men; the French loss was more cousiderable , besides one officer 
and 170 men as prisoners. 

Pfom the papers of a fallen French officer it was discovered 
that the three divisions of the 20th Army Corps, General Crouzafs, 
were to reach the points Beaune la Rolande , Juranville and * La 
Loupe on this day; a proof that they commenced by a partial 
oflFensive with the right wing. 

This was, moreover, continued with vigour. The 20th Corps, 
after the fights on, the 24th of November was reinforced by the 
18th Corps, so that, according to French accounts, the strength 
of the right wing was 70,000 men. 


The Prince Field Marshal did not allow himself to be led 
astray by these operations. The German left wing received the 
charge of rebutting the French attacks, and the further development 
of the army continued notwithstanding. 

The X. Army Corps retained, provisionally, its position near 
Beaune la Rolande^ in order to serve as a point of support for 
the operations of the other corps, wliich gradually formed front 
to the south, and endeavoured, with the right flank to effect a 
junction with the Grand Duke's Army Detachment. 


On the 28th of November^ at 9 o'clock a. m. ^ the right wing 
of the French made a frefth advance against the X. Corps ^ and 
indeed; as the accounts of the German troops acknowledge ^ with 
great rapidity and vehemence, as well as with decided obstinacy. 
Several troops of the Line, old soldiers, formed the principal 
element of the French attacking columns, and a numerous artillery 
cannonaded the German positions. The X. Army Corps stood 
upon the line from Beaune to Longoar, and had fortified its 
positions. Beaune formed the centre of the engagement and was 
strongly barricaded. The French attacked the place on three 
sides simultaneously and also in the rear; it was defended by 
WedelFs Brigade, ^he fight, along the whole line, was full of 
desperation, and lasted until the commencement of darkness. At 

4 o'clock in the afternoon, the 5th Infantry Division (from the 
UL Army Corps) joined in the fight against the left wing of the 
Fre/ich, with four battalions from Boynes, and the 1st Cavalry 
Division came up as a support. The ^French Corps did not 
commence their retreat into the forest of Orleans until towards 

5 o'clock. A pursuit on the part of the Germans, after so hard 
a fight, could certainly not be thought of, and moreover this 
would not have been judicious in the present military situation. 

The troops of the X. Army Corps had held out with ad- 
mirable courage against greatly superior in numbers ; their tenacity 
and knowledge of war, under the excelleui generalship of General 
von Voigts-Rhetx overcame the furious assault, in the most 
glorious manner. The Corps had lost about 1000 men; the loss 
of the French amounted to considerably more, 1100 killed, 5000 
wounded >and 1600 prisoners. It was the first example of that 
enormous prodigality in human life, by which alone the French 
republic could pay the cost of continuing the war, against the 
proved and tactically superior army of Germany. 




After the failure of the 28th of Noyember, General d'Aurelle 
brought his Corps closer together round Orleans and to the north 
of it, still however retaining a very extended position. Upon the 
right wing hQ placed the 18th Corps , opposite Beanne, on the 
northern boundary of the great forest of Orleans, and the 20th 
Corps upon the road from Orleans to Pithiviers, also in the forest 
of Orl^ns. In rear of these Corps stood the 16th, nearer to 
Orleans. Perhaps he now meant to entiee the enemy upon his 
centi'e, in order then to advance by Fontainebleau, with the three 
corps of the right wing. 

In the meantime the Prince Field Marshal completed his 
disposition towards the south , established his junction with the 
Grand Dnke on the high road from Orleans to Paris, which now 
formed the right wing of tlie united German Loijre Ai*my, and at 
the same time leaving his left wing, the X. and in. Anuy 
Corps, so far to the eastward, that he commanded the road by 
Pithiviei^, and the country to the west of Loing. 

The German Army might amount to 120,000 men, and the 
French, as far as they could now be brought into battle, to 200,000. 

On the Ist of December, Gambetta concluded from Trochu*s 
reports upon the sorties from Paris ^ that a sortie army was 
already on this side of Longjumeau, and he therefore now issued 
the most urgent commands for the advance on all sides, nor did 
he allow proclamations to be wanting for the inspiration of the 
troops (v. page 306). 

On the 2nd of December both armies stood facing one another, 
ready to fight, and in fact were so placed that the French centre, 
the 16th and 17th Corps, was opposite the German right wing, 
whilst the French left wing, the 19th and 2 Ist Coi*ps, was further 
to the west and south ^ behind the forest of Marchenoir. The 
Corps on the German side had the advantage of being able to 
unite and mutually support one another,, in the open country of 
Org^res, Ai*tenay, as far as Pithiviers and to the east of it, with 
greater facility than the French Corps, to whom the forest of 



Orleans doubtless offered defensive advantages, but also interfered 
very much with general supervision and mobility. 

The firat collision occurred near the Paris and Orl^ns road, 
when both the German right wing and the French centre made an 
offensive advance. 

On the evening of the Ist of December, a Bavarian recon- 
noitring detachment sent out from the Grand Duke's /irmy- division 
had come upon the advanced guard of the 16th French Oorpa, 
between Orgbres and Patajfj and was thrown back. The whole 
of the Grand Duke's army-division immediately moved forward, at 
8 o'clock on the following morning; the Bavarians on the right 
wing, from Org^res, flanked by the 4th Cavalry Division; the 
17th Division in the centre, byBazoches; and the 22nd Division, 
upon the left wing, in connection with the IX. Army Corps and sup- 
ported by the 2nd Cavalry Division, along the high road. 

These divisions had hardly passed Orghres and Bazoehes when 
they were vigorously attacked by the beads of the advancing 16th 
and 17th French Corps. The Bavarians were, at first, forced 
back, but the 17th Division soon re-established the combat; the 
French were defeated after a contest of two hours, Loigny was 
stormed by the centre and right wing, Paupry by the left wing, 
and the pursuit was carried on until close in front of Artenay* 
General d'Aurelle led up the 17th Corps as a reinforcement, but 
was unable to succeed in bringing the advantage to his side, and 
on the evening of the 2nd of December, was obliged to leave the 
points Loigny and Poupry in possession of the right wing of the 
German Loire Army. 

The 17th Division alone had taken 7 guns, and made 1800 
prisoners, includmg one general and twenty officers. 

The Prince Field Marshal now made dispositions for a sur- 
rounding attack against Orleans, by all the Corps, upon converging 
lines. The radiating roads leading to this town, formed the lines 
of operations. 

On the 3rd of December, the Grand Duke again continued 
his movement on the right of the high road; next to him, in the 
centre of the whole order of battle, upon this road and to the 
left of it, was General von Manstein, whilst upon his left flank, 




the 2nd Cavalry Division held the connection with General 
von Alvensleben's III. Army Corps. This Corps marched from 
Pithiviers upon Chiilenrs and, finally, the X. Army Corps, upon 
the extreme left wing, by Boyne. 

General d^Aurelle did not again take the offensive on the 
3rd of December, neither was the resistance on this day generally 
of a tenaciously obstinate character. 

The Grand Duke of Mecklenburg and General von Mlnstein 
threw the enemy back upon Chevilly^ General von Alvensleben 
penetrated beyond Chttleurs, and General von Voigts-Rhetz attained 
an equal level with the centre, in the forest of Orleans. 

G^ieral d'Aurelle, in spite of his strength, drew back his 
centre, whilst leaving his wings stationary, and exposed them, even 
on this day, to the danger of a separation. 

Probably the events of the 3rd of December still corresponded 
with d^Aurelle^s original idea, of being able to advance towards 
Paris with at least one strong wing, and indeed . he must now 
have counted upon the left mng^ which retnained still intact^ 
and even unobserved, behind the forest of Marchenoir. 

From this day, however, tlie French plan fell into confusion, 
chiefly, it would appear, through Gambetta^s iuteiference. No 
systematic action on the pai't of the French can any longer be 
recognised. However, it must certainly not be inferred that the 
march upon Paris would have succeeded had it not been for the 
differences between Gambetta and d'Aurelle. The dispositions of 
the Prince, models of circumspection and decision during the whole 
Loire campaign, would scarcely have allowed a French army to 
advance unobserved. 

Gambetta issued the command that Orleans should be defended, 
and this naturally was at cross purposes with General d'Aurelle's 
dispositions ; the retreat was continued no further, a fight occurred 
on the 4th, but the separation was, nevertheless, accomplished. 

All the German Corps pressed forward this day against 
Orleans, in the same direction as on the previous day. 

General von Manstein, with the 18th Division in the first 
line, and the 25th (Hessian) Division in the second line, came 
upon the main position of the French to the south of Chevilly, 



in the line CercotteB — Gidy^ leading acrosB the high roid. A 
combat ensued, lasting for many hours, with hot fighting in places, 
which ended in the retreat of the French upon Orleans. 

^ And now, whilst the German corps continued their march 
upon Orleans with a front becoming continually more drawn 
in, the marvellous division of the French Army into two great 
masses took place, parting company up and down the Loire, 
the one towards the south-west, the other towards the south- 
east. This movement has since been explained by tactical reasons, 
for the German corps, in the centre, had advanced so far that the 
French wings were no longer able to reach Orleans and the centre. 

Thus whilst d'Aurelle's conjectured plan was partially fulfilled, 
he was at the same time hindered from independently exercising 
his command, and the two strong wings, which should now have 
gone forward, retired. 

The 18th Corps passed the Loire at Sully, the 20th at 
Jargeau in order to retreat upon Bourges, and the 15th Corps had 
crossed at Orleans; the remaining corps had commenced their 
retreat upon Meung^ partly also to their former position near 

Meanwhile the German Army immediately followed the 
retreating corps; the IX. Army Corps was m possession of the 
suburb of St. Jean by the evening of the Acth of December, 
after a vigorous fight, and^ in common with the Grand Duke^s 
Corps, occupied the toum of Orleans early on the morning of 
the hth of December. 

In the three days fighting, the losses in the French Army had 
been extraordinarily large, chiefly in prisoners, of whom above 10,000 
fell into the hands of the Germans, together with 77 guns and 
4 gun -boats, surprised upon the Loire. But the German loss also 
was not inconsiderable, it amounted to about 5000 men in killed 
and wounded. 



The Prince Field Marshal established his head - quarters in 
Orleans on the 5th of December, and fi'om here sent out detach- 
ments in all directions which were to keep feeling with the enemy. 

The division of the French Army, which Gambetta instantly 
announced to the world as a strategical plan, was confirmed by 
the German reconnaissances, and the track of the- French right 
wing was followed for several days, with repeated small engage- 
ments at GteHy Vierson and other points in the south-west and 

Contrary to Gambetta's hopes, however, the Prince made no 
further pursuit of Bourbaki's Army (the three Corps of the right 
wing) after the 10th of December, but now, correctly estimating 
the importance of the French left wing, the lU. Army Corps was 
recalled from its march upon Gien^ and the whole German Loire 
Army was directed against the forces which showed themselves in 
opposition to the Grand Duke's troops and the IX. Army Corps at 
Meungy Beaugency and Blois. 

The left wing of the army which had been beaten near 
Orleans, the 16th, 17th, Sl9th and 21st Corps, had, under the 
command of General Chanzy — d'Aurelle had fallen out with 
Gambetta and been dismissed — concentrated on the right bank 
of the Loire in the line Beaugency — Marchenoir, and first offered 
resistance to the pursuing German Corps on the 7th of December 
to the north of Meung. 

An offensive movement in the direction of Paris y with 
surrounding the German right wing,, was not attempted by this 
strong army j although the present moment offered a better 
prospect of success than ever. 

Beaten by the 17th Division, the French rear guard drew 
bfick upon Beaugency, and on the following day General Chanzy 
moved against the Grand Duke with his whole force. A hot 
engagement took place at Beaugency^ in which the French were 
once again thrown back with considerable losses (1500 prisoners 
and 6 guns). 

On the 9th of December, amidst repeated fights, the Grand 


Duke occupied the forest of Marchenoir and the districts of 
Bouvalet, Cemay and others to the south of Beaugency, which 
were still defended by the enemy. 

Upon the report of the combat near Meung, the Prince Field 
Marshal made the X. Army Corps follow the IX. and the Grand 

The 10th of December was to have been a day of rest for the 
German Army^ but on this day General Ghanzy attempted the 
offensive afresh; the combat, principally conducted by artillery, 
ended in the retreat of the French^ who now went no furthet* 
towards the south, but by Fenddme upon Le Mans. 

The delegation of Tours had left that town after the battle 
of Orleans, and fled to Bordeaux. 

The German side was at fault, for some days, as to the line 
of retreat taken by the French; it was believed that they had 
fallen back upon Blois and Tours, and the march was therefore 
continued in this direction. The head-quarters were in Beaugency 
on the 12th, and in Suevres on the 13th. 

On the latter day, however. General Voigts-Bhetz made the 
discovery, after occupying Blois, that General Chanzy had drawn 
off towards Fenddme. 

In consequence of this the march was directed to the west, 
upon yenddmCj from the 13th of December, the X. Aimy Corps 
upon the left wing and the Grand Duke upon the right, in the 
first line; following them, the III. Army Corps was to turn off 
from Beai^en^ towards the west, and the IX. Army Corps was 
to cross from the left to the right bank of the Loire at Blois. 

On the Idth of December a sharp fight took place iu the line 
Venddme — Morde on the Loir, against Chanzy's Army. 

But Gambetta now appears to have conceived the new plan 
of drawing the German Army continually further westward and 
of occupying it^ whilst in the meantime, Bourbaki was to march 
unimpeded towards the east^ and break away, past General 
von Werder's small Army^ into Germany^ or completely to 
interrupt the German communications (v. Chapter XU). 

A lasting resistance was consequently not offered at Venddme, 
but the retreat from this favourable position was decided on, and 


commenced on the 16th of December. On the same day Venddme 
was occupied with some fighting on the part of the Germans, and 
six guns and a mitrailleuse were taken by the victorious X. Army 

The retreat of the French from Venddme, combined with the 
news of BourbakPs position at Bourges and Gien, caused Prince 
Frederick Charles to suspect that he was to be enticed to the 
westward, in order, possibly, to send Bourbaki to Paris. He there- 
fore returned to Orleans on the 19th, directed the Grand Duke 
of Mecklenburg and General von Voigts-Rhetz to pursue General 
Chanzy as far only as Epuisay and St. Calais, and then took up 
a position of observation with his whole atfny^ both against 
Chanxy and Bourbaki. 

At the same time the latter commenced embarking his 
army upon the railroad for Besan^on, 

The Grand Duke and General von Vblgts - Rhetz occupied the 
line Chartres - Chateaudun - Vendome - Tours with their own- Corps 
and the 1st, 2nd and 4th Cavalry Divisions, the former on the 
right and the latter on the left ; General von Manstein and General 
von Alvensleben extended their Corps and the 6th Cavalry Division 
towards the south-east and made reconnaissances upon Vierzon, 
Bourges, and upon the right bank of the Loire, as far as Gien 
and Briare. 

These measures for observation were continued for a long 
time; yet it appears that Bourbakfs movements here were not at 
first detected, for the Prince remained at Orleans until the be- 
gmning of January, and the Southern Army waj» on)y set in 
movement for General Werder's assistance, at the commencement 
of that month. 

General Chanzy too, was in uncertainty on his side as to 
w;hat the Prince was going to do; his army was not yet fit again 
to undertake any great operation; it had been ten-ibly weakened, 
not only by the enemy, but also by the severe weather. 

The French troops were in the most deplorable condition, 
deserting in crowds, large detachments of them without arms, and 
all most insufficiently clad and fed. On the road from Orleans to 
Blois alone, more than 6000 French wounded, who had been left 


behind entirely without doctors , were found and attended to by 
the Germans. Bat the German troops had also suffered from the 
unceasing fighting and wintw bivouacking; their foot-gear was f<Hr 
the most part in a wretched condition, and it is a great triumph 
for their excellent moral qualities , and the masterly generalship 
and administration, that they, nevertheless , remained * completely 
ready for the fight. 

From the 16th of December 1870 to the 6th of January 
1871, nothing but reconnaissances occurred, in conformity with the 
sitaation of affairs. 

On the 21st of December, the 19th Division from the X. Army 
Corps, whose head -quarters were at Blois, appeared before Tours^ 
via Chateau -Renault, after having defeated some of the enemy's 
detachments on the 19th. The town, after some rifled cannon shot 
had been thrown into it, requested a Prussian gan*ison, but it was 
not occupied; the Division moved into cantonments in the 

A detachment from the 20th Division at Venddme, six com- 
panies, one squadron and two guns, under Lieutenant Colonel 
von Boltenstem, went down the Loir on the 27th of December, 
and came upon a superior force of the enemy between Montvire 
and La Chartre, which completely surrounded the detachment 
after sundry skirmishes. The detachment fought its way through, 
and returned with a loss of about 100 men and 10 officers, and 
with 230 men of the enemy as prisoners. 

On the 31 st of December, the 20th Division, at Vendome, 
was attacked by superior forces, but repulsed the attack, and the 
Ist Cavalry Brigade, under General von Lfideritz, succeeded in 
takmg 4 guns. 


In the beginning of 1871 it was evident that Bourbaki would 
make a push towards the east (v. Chapter XII.), and Prince Frederick 
Charles, in accordance with the Chief Head -Quarters, whence 


spooial dispoBitions were made against Bourbaki, now decided, 
on his side, to attack General Chanzy, who was stationed at 
Le Mans. 

On the 2nd ot January, the Prince commanded the XIII. Army 
Oorps (17th and 22nd Infantry Divisions) to concentrate at Chartres, 
the IX. at Orleans, the III. at Beangency and the X. at Venddme. 

On the 6th of January the following points were to be reached: 
BroUy upon the light wing, by the XIII. Army Corps and 

the 4th Cavalry Division, and Nogeni le Rotrou by a flanking 

detachment on the right. 

Moree^ further down on the Loir, by the IX. Army Corps 
(18th Infantry Division and Artillery Corps) and the 2nd Cavalry 

Fenddmey in the centre, by the III. Army Corps, whose 
advanced guard was to occupy the line of Azai; Monioire^ upon 
the left wing, by the X. Army Corps and the 1st and 6th Cavalry 

These dispositions indicate a surrounding attack against Le Mans, 
and formed the introduction to a series of fights, which lasted 
seven days, before commg to a crisis at Le Mans itself. 

The peculiar formation of the ground, to the east of the 
ancient Norman town of Le Mans, explains why the overthrow of 
the western army was marked by a suoeeasion of fights instead 
of by one great decisive stroke. 

The two rivers Huisne and Loir^ running into the Sarthe 
which flows by Le Mans towards Angers, form with their numerous 
small tributaries, a number of tactically important positions, lying 
regularly one behind another, in the hilly and undulating country 
round Le Mans. The ground is, moreover, intersected by numerous 
quick-set fences upon low earth banks, which enclose the fields; 
numerous isolated farms, with several villages, thickets and many 
solidly built chateaux lie scattered about, forming special points 
of appui for the defenders. Added to this, a cold of 8 to 10 
degrees (Reaumur) with snow and gales increased the difficulties, 
on both sides it is true, of marching and fighting. 

On the 6th of January the fighting began. 


The French had, on the 5th of January, strengthened their 
position opposite the 20th Infantry Division, and occupied the 
forest of Vendome; from here, on the 6th of January, they made 
attacks upon the outposts of the Division , which remained 
stationary, whilst the latter was moving to the south-west upon 
Montoire.. Soon however, towards midday, the heads of the 
lU. Corps arrived at FenddmCy took up the combat and continued 
it, against the tenacious, and reinforced, resistance of the enemy, 
until his retreat behind the Azai line. 

The X. Corps reached Montoire with slight resistance. 

The regiments of the 38th Brigade, on the other hand, and 
parts of the 1st Cavalry Division and the 6th Cavalry Division, 
who were appointed to cover the march of the X. Coi*ps upon the 
extreme left flank, in a position at St. Amand, were attacked 
from Chateau -Renault, from the south-west, and forced back upon 
Ambloy. — The enemy thus attempted to paralyze the attack, by 
surrounding the left flauk of the Germans. 

The IX. Coi*ps had reached Moree] the XIU. Corps, however, 
had met with an obstinate resistance, and had only just reached 
the vicinity of Brou, and not yet Nogent le Rotrou. It had 
become evident in the course of the day, that Divisions of the 
16th and 17th Corps had fought acainst the III., parts of the 
21. Corps against the XIII., and a Division of the 16th Corps 
had fought at St. Amand. 

The Prince Field Marshal decided to continue the surrounding 
attack upon le lians, and only to devote a secondary consideration 
to the enemy at St. Amand. 

By his dispositions for the 7th of January, the XIII. Corps 
was to advance upon Mantmirail, the IX. upon Epmsay^ the X. 
upon La Charire^ whilst rebutting the threatening upon its flank, 
the UI. Corps upon Savigny and Epuisay , and he himself 
towards Crilamesj in the centre. 

A thick fog lay upon the ground and shut out the effect of 
the artillery? so that the fighting had to be carried on by the 
infantry alone. There were engagements at Epuisay, St. Amand 
and Nogent le Rotrou. In the evenmg all the divisions had taken 
up the previously indicated positions witibi the exception of the 


X. Corps which had been retarded by a victorious fight at St.i^mand 
and only got as far as Montoire with its main body. The Prince 
established his head-quarters in Venddme, and ordered a general 
continuation of the offensive for the 8th of January. 

On this day the leading troops of the III. Corps reached 
Ecorpain without a contest; the IX. Corps, in its rear, reached 
St. Calais, to which place the head-quai*ters were also removed; 
the X. Corps, after a slight resistance, reached la Chartre, and 
the XIU. La Fert^ Bernard, and pushed out an advanced l!.^uard 

The orders for the 9th of January directed the Xin.'"Corps 
to the hill of Moutfoi't, tlie UL upon Artenay, the IX. upon Bou- 
loire, and the X. upon Parignd-Eveque. Detached divisions were 
also commanded to undertake the destruction of the railway connec- 
tions from Le Mans to Alen^on and Tours. 

General von Hartmann, with a mixed detachment was charged 
to throw the enemy's troops further back, which had threatened 
the left flank of the X. Corps, on the 6th. 

The previously indicated points, Artenay^ Le Breil, La Belief 
inutile, L'Homme, Montreuil, St. Georges and Sceaux^ were almost 
reached on all sides, amid hot fighting. 

The Prince Field Marshal established his head-quarters in 
Bouloire and ordered the surrounding advance upon Le^^Alans 
itseify for the 10th of January. The IX. Corps was to form 
the reserve of the centre. 

The roads, since the 9th of January, had been c(5^ered wiOi 
slippery ice, so that the march was rendered unusu^y difficult, 
especially for horses. 

But notwithstanding this hindranee and the obstinate resistance , 
offered by tiie enemy, chiefly against the III. and XIII. Corps, 
the following points were reached m the evening. \; 

The UL Corps stood in Chang^, between this plaee and 
Parigniy to the west of St Hubert and in Champajfl^e. The 
X. Army Corps at Grand Luce. Of the XUI. Corps, the 22nd 
Division had only reached the line Couleon^hdtBau-Connerre 
railway station; the 17th Division had not been able to force the 


paaBBfif over the Huitne against Ronasean's Division of the 2l8t 
Corps, and stood at Pont de Gesnes. The DL Corps was at 


On the evening of the lOth of January, the French Army 
was formed up with a cnrved front in a line three miles (IB^/s Eng- 
lish miles) in extent, to the east and north-east of Le Mans, in 
excellent positions for farther fighting. The 16th Corps was upon 
the left wing, on the right bank of the Huisne, the 17th Corps 
and palls of the 21st Corps, in the centre, on the left bank of 
the Huisne, and one Division of the 19th Corps, upon the right 
wmg, on the road to La Chartre. The Gardes Mobiles and 
mobilised Gardes Nationaux, who had only arrived shortly before, 
were in reserve. 

The whole Army might still number 100,000 men. 

The Pnnce Field Marshal again ordered the attack for the 
11th of January, in the old, often proved Prussian manner; that 
of surrounding the enemy with both wings and then attacking 
^OTMisly from the centre and the wings. 

The Xm. Army Corps was to accomplish the passage over 
the Huisne on this day, and to move forward against Le Mans 
f^m the north-east; the remaining Corps were to keep their pre- 
sent directimis. 

On this day the success was gained of wresting some very 
important positions from the enemy; still the decisive combat re> 
quired^^et a seventh day. 

In the evening of the 11th of January, the III. Corps had 
gained fibssession of Arches Chdieau and Noyers CkdteaUy and 
the 18th Division, after a fight of many hours, had taken the 
Plateau ^AuvouK The XIU. Corps had crossed the river at 
Connenr6 with the 17th Division, and in the evening after a hard 


fight, this Division occupied the conntry to the east of LombroUy 
and the 22nd Division, La Chapelle. 

The X. Army Corps had reached Les Mortes Aures and 
MuLsanne late in the evening, and taken the height of Verd- 
galanty an important point of support for the. enemy. 

The 14th Cavalry Brigade with two battalions was, in the 
evening, between Chdteau de la ^Paillerie and Parigni'tEv^que, 

The Prince Field Marshal established his head-quarters in 
the Ch§.teau AArtenay^ and gave the following orders for the 
12th of Januaiy: 

"The ni. and X. Corps will continue the o£fensive; the IX. 
Corps will establish its artillery Corps upon the plateau d'Anvour 
and, with a brigade of the 18th Division, support the XIII. Corps 
whilst it debouches by the bridge over the Huisne.'' 

With the commencement of dawn, however, General Chanzy 
first took the offensive. Shortly after, whilst still dark, the ad- 
vanced posts of the III. Corps were engaged; at noon, those of 
the IX. Corps in the neighbourhood of Fatines] and, at the same 
time, the 17th Division, to the south-east of SL Comeille, was 
attacked. * 

General Chanzy risked a final desperate battle, and it is a 
matter of astonishment that he was still able to move his Army 
to such a fight as took place this day, after six days of almost 
uninterrupted defeats. 

On the German side, the 35th Brigade joined in the combat 
at St. Corneille by a flanking movement ; the French were defeated, 
and the Brigade reached Parance in the evening. 

The 17th Division took St. Corneille and the passage over 
the Parance stream at Thouvois-Chdteau. 

The 22nd Division moved forward from La Chapellcy by 
St, Celerie and Torce and reached the Bonn^table and Le Mans 
road. In a further advance the Division came upon strong forces 
of the enemy near Chanteloup, and after an obstinate combat, 
placed itself, towards evening, in possession of La Croix. 

The 4th Cavalry Division reached Ballon and Souligni. 
General von Manstein had occupied the plateau d'Anvour with 


several batteries, which opened fire upon Yvr^ and the retiring 
columns of the enemy. 

LiaBtly, upon the left wing, the X. Army Corps was marched 
upon Le Mans; it had broaght batteries into position, and after 
an hour's cannouade, entered, fighting, into the town at 4 o'clock 
in the afternoon, without meeting considerable resistance. 

The lU. Army Corps reached the ground to the south of 
VEpau after a protracted fight, brought two batteries into action 
against Le Mans in the afternoon, and with the 6th Division, 
followed the X. Corps into the town, whilst .the 6th Division 
still pushed forward advanced posts, across the Huisne, in the 

The combat had ended in the complete defeat of the French 
Army. They were in rapid retreat upon Alen^ou and Laval, and 
their losses were enoimously great. The German Army had 
made 18,000 prisoners in the seven days fighting, and taken 20 
guns and mitrailleuses, and 2 colours. A large quantity of war 
material fell into German hands at Le Mans. 

The German loss amounted, altogether, in the seven days to 
180 officers and 3470 men. 

The victory of Le Mans was of decisive result in the theatre 
of war in the south and west, and weighed heavily in the balance 
in favour of the conclusion of tlie war. Chanzy*8 Army was 
destroyed. The debris, which he led back upon Alen^on and 
Laval, could not undertake any operations again for a long time; 
also, from the 13th of January, the day after the last decisive 
battle, they were puraued by the German Army, and lost 6000 
men, in addition, as prisoners.' 

The Grand Duke of Mecklenburg followed with the XIIL 
Corps, the 4th Cavalry Division and the 12th Cavalry Brigade 
upon Alen^on] General von Schmidt, with the 14th Cavalry Bri- 
gade and detachments of the DC. Corps, upon LavaL 

On the 14th, the forsaken camp of Conlie was found by a 



detachment of the X. Army Corps, after some slight skirmishes 
with the French rear guard, to be evacuated; largd stores of 
provisions, ammunition and arms were captured in this grandly 
established entrenched camp. Alen9on was reached by the German 
troops on the night of the 16th, and the XIII. Army Corps was 


directed thence upon Rouen ^ on the 20th, for the purpose of 
operating against the French Corps at Havre, in company with 
the Northern Army. 

General Chanzy had been completely forced back into 

German detachments also advanced towards the south; a 
brigade of the III. Army Coi*ps marched upon Angers, and on 
the 19th of January General von Hartmann, Commander of the 1st 
Cavalry Division, occupied the town of Tours with his mixed de- 
tachment of all arms. 

Thus, profiting by his victories in all directions. Prince 
Frederick Charles, who had established his head<quaii;ers at Le 
Mans, held the departments of Orl^anais, Touraine, Anjou, Maine 
and Normandy under the power of German arms, and frustrated 
every hope of a relief of Paris from this quarter ; until, soon after, 
the convention of Versailles, also profiting by the results of the 
admirable successes of this army, put an end to the events of 
the war. 


(v. map of the operations of the Northern Armies.) 

As early as the beginning of October, the existence of armed 
French divisions, in the northern departments of Artois and Picardy, 
had been confirmed by the reports of the cavalry, which had 
been sent out from Paris, on all sides for reconnoitring purposes 
and as stationary detachments. 

Thus, in the early days of October, a French detachment, 
several thousand strong, composed of Gardes Mobiles of the Marne 


and the Somme, a portion of the 43rd Regiment of the Line and 
a small fovce of Cavalry, advanced from Arras to make a re- 
connaissance towards Paris, and came into collision with two Ger- 
man squadrons in the neighbourhood of Breieuil^ to the south of 
Amiens. They at once turned again in rapid retreat upon Amiens 
and Arras. 

These newly organized troops, however, did not gain impor- 
tance as an army, which could endanger the investment of Paris, 
until much later, at the same time that the French Loire Army 
also attained a threatening strength in the south, under General 

General Farre had, originally, been charged with the organ* 
ization of the active forces in the north; then, on the 22nd of 
October, Bourbaki took over the Chief Command, after his depar- 
ture from Metz; but in November, before there had been any 
fighting in the north, he was called away to take up a command 
on the Loire. 

Even at the end of October the organization in the north 
appeared of sufficient importance to the German Army Direction 
for General von Manteuff^l to be sent there, after the capitulation 
of Metz, with the I. and VIII. Army Corps (the I. was reduced 
by having sent away detachments) and the 3rd Cavalry Division. 

This Army Detachment, however, was only able to move off 
from Metz on the 7th of November, for the I. Army (which con- 
sisted of the VII. Corps and Senden's Division besides the por- 
tions of troops named) had been given the charge of carrying out 
the evacuation and removal of the captured army, in detachments, 
from Metz. This arduous work, occupying much time, was finally 
so arranged that the Laudwehr troops, hitherto belonging to 
Kummer^s Division, should undertake the transport to Germany 
and then remain at home on guard; it was then only that the I. 
Army was distributed for the divers tasks of occupying Metz, 
Thionville, Longwy, Montm^dy, M^zi^res, partially also for the siege 
and observation of Verdun (v. Chapter IX.) and to advance against 
the north-west of France. 

Part of the VU. Corps remained in Metz, Senden*s Division 
besieged Thionville and the fortresses on the Belgian frontier. 


Zglinitzki's Brigade from the 1st Corps, reinforced by a squadron 
and a battery, moved foi'ward by the railroad to Soissons for the 
siege of La F^re, whilst Bentheim's Division was sent away for the 
investment of Mdzi^res. 

On the 7th of November General 7on Manteuffel commenced 
his march with the remainder, by two main roads, towards the 
west. The I. Corps, upon the right wing, followed the line of Briey- 
Damvillers-Rethel-Laon-Noyon, and the VIII. Corps, upon the left 
wing, that of Verdun-Varennes-Rheims-Soissons-Compi^gne. 

On the 21st Ham. was occupied. 

On the 23rd of November the advance upon Amiens, by 
Montdidier and Roye, was made, preceded by the Cavalry Di- 
vision. On the following day fighting took place with the advanced 
guard, under Colonel von Ltlderitz at Quesnel and Mezieres; 
on the 26th, the presence of strong forces of the enemy at 
Thennes on the line of the Luce was ascertained, and dispositions 
Were made for a battle on the 27th. 

Of the I. Corps, only one infantry brigade, the Artillery 
Corps and a cavalry regiment were on the spot ; the 1st Division, 
now relieved before M^zi^res by Senden's Division, )vas still upon the 
march, the VIII. Corps, on the other hand, was complete. How- 
ever, the Regiments Kronprinz and No. 41, belonging to the 1st 
Division, as well as the cavalry and artillery, still arrived in 
time on the following day. 


General Faidherbe reckons the forces*), at that time on the 
French side in Amiens, as consisting of only three brigades, 
Lecointe's, Derroja's and Bfissots, with the garrison of Amiens, 
altogether 25,000 men including 4 squadrons and 7 batteries under 

•) In his publication *'Campagne*de TArm^e du Nord", dedicated to 
Gambetta; a publication with excellent closing remarks, but written with 
too decidedly political objects. 



the eomnuuid of General Farre, Gardes MobUes^ Marineg and re- 
gular infantry, and very nomerooB officers escaped from the c^i- 
talations of Sedan and Metz. If these estimates are correct — and 
Faidherbe's detailed acconnt makes it probable — the French anny 
was about equal in numbers to the German, though much weaker 
in cavalry and artillery. The entrenchments, in which the French 
fought, certainly compensated for this disadvantage. 

The German Army, on the morning of the 27th of November, 
advanced for the offensive directly upon Amiens; the VULL Ckups 
upon the left wing, and the detachments of the I. Corps upon the 
right wing. 

The French Army held an entrenched position, in a very 
extended line, in front of Amiens. 

The VIIL Corps attacked in a northerly direction towards the 
town, threw back the enemy, who offered a brave resistance, from 
one position to another, in a fight lasting for many hours, during 
which several bayonet attacks were carried out, and a battalion 
of marines was ridden down by the 9th Hussars; and in the 
evening its leading troops were half a mile (2^/5 English miles) 
flrbm Amiens. , 

The I. Corps, when advancing against the heights of Gentelles 
and yUlerS'Bretonneux^ had to endure a still harder fight; it was 
attacked by a French detachment which had taken up a position 
for the defence of Corbie and the railroad to Arras and Lille. 
The I. Corps was only able to gain ground slowly and amid 
severe losses, yet being vigoroiisly supported on the right wing by 
the Cavalry Division, this corps also succeeded at last in defeating 
the enemy and taking the enti'enchment at Villers-Bretonneux. 

With this the French army certainly was not driven out of 
its last position before Amiens; yet its loss was so considerable, 
and the steadiness of the troops so shaken , that a rapid retreat 
to the north was commenced in the evening. 

The loss of the Germans was pretty considerable ; it amounted 
to 1800 men and 79 officers. Nevertheless 9 guns and 2 colom*s 
were taken, and 800 unwounded prisoners made; the loss of the 
French is estimated, by Faidherbe, at 266 killed and 1117 wounded, 
besides a great number missing and scattered. 


No pursait was made after the enemy in retreat to the north ; 
and therefore the resalts of the battle were only momentary. An 
energetic pursuit would probably have put an end to the whole 
war in the north; whilst as it was, the French army again 
recovered and was reinforced in the noii;hem fortresses, so that it 
was able to repeat many times its attempts to press forward across 
the Somme towards Paris, and to engage in several fresh battles. 
Whether a pursuit was impossible, caopot as yet be decided, for 
sufficiently exact information is wanting as to the positions on both 
sides and the condition of the troops after the combat. On the 
French side only, is there a detailed account of the battle by 
General Faidherbe, according to which the Geiman army was pre- 
vented by its losses, and the fatigues of the contest, from profiting 
by its victory, whilst the French had, for the greater part, retired 
in good order. Less confidence can be placed in this account 
than on the strength estimates from the same source, because a 
description can easily be coloured ; nevertheless the course of events 
gives it some likelihood. As the German army, with its superior 
and numerous cavalry, had so greatly the advantage, in regard to 
a pursuit, over an enemy almost entirely deficient in cavalry, it 
is difficult to explain why better use was not made of the victory. 
It is true that in general, a pursuit by cavalry, after the fashion 
of former wars, is no longer possible, and this arises from the 
new arms of the infantry. Formerly the cavalry remained so close 
upon the heels of the retiring enemy, that it could take advantage 
of each moment of disorder to fall upon it; now, however, even 
a small detachment of infantry with the rapid-firing, long -ranged 
breech-loaders, keeps the cavalry at such a distance, that all 
feeling between the rear guard of the retiring body and the pur- 
suing cavalry is easily lost. A pursuit, therefore, is only possible 
now with all three ai'ms, and principally indeed with infanti*y still 
thoroughly fit for marching or at least more fit for marching than 
the enemy. 

The whole war of 1870 — 71 presents no single instance of 
a productive pursuit by cavalry, as was the case formerly, and 
in general, only offers examples of pursuits of little energy and 
value. This, naturally, is mainly owing to the principal battles 



at Metz and Sedan having ended with the retreat of the vanquished 
foe into a fortress and a capitulation, which without doufot, was 
of more value than any pursuit; but in other cases, after the 
battle of Woerth for instance , no pursuit was made, because the 
victors had not any fresh iufanti*y near enough to the enemy, and 
because the cavalry was unable to pursue. Here, at Amiens, 
however, the ground was more favourable for cavalry than at 

On the 2Sih, Amiens was occupied by the Germans; but 
the citadel held out until the following morning, and was only 
taken after a short fight. At this place, 11 officers and 400 men^ 
30 guns and considerable war material fell into the hands of the 

From the beginning of the campaign in the north, the character 
of the population exhibited quite a different aspect to that met 
with by the Germans in the south and in the Yosges. Here there 
was nothing of fanaticism to be observed; the people, well-to-do 
and of a quiet temperament, looked with great dislike upon the 
continuance of the war, feared an excess of the Franc -tireur 
motion, and above all every revolutionary movement, and frequently 
sought protection from the German military authorities against the 
armed proletariats of their own country. The towns, for the most 
part, were not sorry to see a German garrison; the troops were 
met in a friendly manner, and the billetting and requisitions of 
the Germans were tolerated, as the lighter of the unavoidable evils 
of the war, because every thing was done in order. 


On the 29th and 30th of November, detachments followed 
the enemy in the direction of Arras and Lille, and at the same 
time the march upon Rouen, where other French forces were to 
be found, was also arranged. A detachment was left behind to guard 
against the enemy who had retreated towards the north, the 


railroads leading from the north, were also destroyed, for greater 
security, and General von Mantenffel then moved off on the Ist 
of December, towards the south-west, against Rouen. 

The VIII. Army Corps formed the right wing and went by 
Poix, Forges and Buchy, and the I. Army Corps, which had now 
again brought up the greatest paii; of its troops from M^zi^res 
and La- F^re, marched upon the left wing and took the direction 
of Breteuil — Groumay. 

The rearmost troops of the enemy retired rapidly, were 
pursued, and on the 4th of December General von G5ben came 
upon a French corps of observation between Forges and Buchy. 

The VIII. Corps attacked immediately; the enemy only offered 
a slight resistance, and was soon driven away from several posi- 
tions, with severe loss, besides 400 prisoners. General von Gdben 
still reached Rouen on the same day. 

The I. Corps likewise advanced, driving before it the enemy's 
detachments, which made but an indifferent stand. 

On the 6th of December, Rouen was occupied by a strong 
garrison; General von Manteuffel moved in, in the afternoon, and 
then immediately arranged the march of a detachment upon 
Dieppe. This seaport town was occupied on the 9th of December. 

The result was considerable, The French forces were here 
completely driven away, and retired towards Havre; the im- 
portant town of Rouen, with above 100,000 inhabitants, and 
Dieppe; of consequence as a harbour, were in German power. 

The troops, wearied by forced marches and repeated engage- 
ments, could now be allowed a little rest* 


On the 3rd of December General Faidherbe had taken com- 
mand of the united French forces, in Lille, and in a few weeks 
had brought them up to the strength of three Divisions, Lecointe's, 
Paulze d'lvoy's and Houlac's, whose foiH^e, as represented by 


Faidherbe, was 30,000 men and 60 guns. With this army he 
again moved off towards the south. 

He directed the Ist Division, Lecointe's, npon St. Quentin. 
It recaptured Ham on the 10th of December , and there made 
210 prisoners. He then appeared with his whole force, before 
La Fh'e, on the 12th. As this little fortress could not be taken 
without a siege, General Faidherbe turned towards Amiens, The 
special task of the Frencli northern army was the relief of Paris; 
therefore this march appears remarkable. It was to be expected 
that Faidherbe would go south from La Fere ; still he might have 
feared a flank attack by Manteuffel and therefore would content 
himself with disturbing the enemy's operations upon Havre. 

On the 20th of December he was on the Hallue, a tributary 
of the Somme, with his army, and the sortie by the Parisians 
against Le Bourget, on the 2 Ist of December, which has been 
described at page 310, took place in connection with his offensive 

General von Manteuffel, however, had received timely intelli- 
gence of these movements, and quickly approached the threatened 
Amiens with his disposable force, which, after the departure of 
the necessary garrisons for Rouen, Dieppe and other places, still 
cx>nsisted of the VIII. Army Corps, one brigade of the I. Army 
Corps and the 3rd cavalry Division, altogether perhaps less than 
20,000 men. 

Even on the 20th a fight took place in the front. The 
French stood in cantonments in the valley of the Hallne stream, 
upon the right «bank of the Somme, towards the south, covered 
by this river and the canal, as well as by extensive marshes, and 
had occupied Corbie besides the villages in the Hallue valley. 
In this position considerable reinforcements were drawn together, 
which had been organized in Lille, and consequently formed a new 
corps, so that the French Northern Army now numbered the 22nd 
and 23rd Corps, altogether about 40,000 men with 78 guns. 
The 22nd Corps, under General Lecointe, two Divisions and six 
batteries, took the line along the Hallue, from Daours to Beau- 
court i l^e 23rd Corps, under General Paulae dlvoy, held Corbie 
and its environs with its 1st Division and five batteries, and had 


stationed its 2nd Division, in a second line, in the villages to the 
south-west of Albert 

On the 20th, a Oennan reconnoitring detachment came straight 
upon the French centre at Querrieux , and a small' but hot fight 


On the 23rd of December, General Manteuffel advanced for 
the regular attack. 

The offensive of the German army was directed from Amiens 
against the front of the French, who, in the last few days, had 
strengthened the heights upon the left bank of the Hallue by 
some entrenchments, and intended to offer an energetic resistance. 
Their position was, in fact, very well chosen, for their left wing, 
which the German side might have wished to surround, lay greatly 
protected, and the right wing curving to the rear with the con- 
formation of the chain of heights, rendered an encompassing 
difficult here also. 

The German troops attacked, as always, with great courage, 
threw back the French advanced troops from the localities and 
positions which they occupied upon the right bank of the Hallue, 
and then went forward to storm the heights upon the left bank. 
The combat revolved chiefly about Daours upon the German right 
wing, and about PonUNoyelles in the centre; upon the German 
left wing an attack was undertaken against Frechencourt, These 
localities were successfully wrested from the French; yet at 
Frechencourt, where the attack appears to have been made with 
weaker forces, no particular further success was gained ; the French 
maintained themselves on this wing. 

According to Faidherbe's acoount, towards 4 o'clock in the 
afternoon. General von Manteuffel had again lost so many of the 
advantages which he had originally gained, that on the French 
side an offensive movement could be thought of, and, indeed, the 
Germans, although at this time still in possession of the left bank, 

360 . 

had been hard pressed in the centre^ and it was the intention^ on 
the side of the French , to threaten the German left flank by 
wheeling up the right wing. The execution of this, however, only 
resulted in trifling success, as night soon put an end to the op^a- 
tions, the only result gained being the re-capture of Pont-Noyelles 
and Daours. During the night, it is true, the Germans took pos- 
session of both places a^esh, and made some hundred prisoners 
in them. 

Faidherbe^s account, written altogether with a recognisable 
object, is here, apparently, at a loss to improve tlpon the situation 
of the French Army. 

A German detailed account of the battle does not exist; this 
much is certain, that both armies bivouacked upon the field of 
battle, and that the French army, which only retired in the after- 
noon of the following day, was not pursued. These facts are 
sufficient to form a judgment upon the combat; the battle on the 
Hallue was certainly, not a success to any great extent; it was 
very similar to the battle of Amiens on the 27th of November; 
the enemy was beaten, but he was not deprived of the power of 
withdrawing upon his basis of operations, in order to return 
again in a short time with fresh forces. That the French were 
conquered is, however, not to be doubted, and to beat an enemy 
doubly superior in numbers and in excell^t positions was quite 
a distinguished feat for the German army and its general. 

General Faidherbe estimates his loss at- 141 killed, 906 
wounded, some hundred prisoners and 1000 dispersed. The German 
loss amounted to 38 officers and 824 men in killed and wounded, 
as well as 93 missing. 

The French northern army retreated upon Arras and Douay. 
On the 25th General von Manteufiel commenced the march in 
pursuit ; he reached Albert on the same day, but from here, only 
followed with single detachments, an.d only as far as B^paume. 
He kept the main body of his force at Amiens, and sent out 
corps ot observation from there, in all directions. 

General Faidherbe moved into cantonments between Arras and 
Douay, with his front towards the south. 

On the 27th the investment of P^ronne was undertaken from 


Amiens, where General Count von der Grdben commanded. This 
fortress proved itself of special importance at the battle of 
St. Quentin, which took place later; but even before, it was of 
essential consequence for the passage over the Somme, and it Is 
an indication of the spontaneous intelligence of the* Prussian sub- 
altern officer, as well as of the important position which even the 
lower officers were obliged to, or could assume, at times, in this 
long protracted and widely extended war, that the conquest of 
T^ronne was carried out on the plan and proposal of First 
Lieutenant Schmidt, of the 11th siege artillery division, who was 
artillery commander in the citadel of Amiens. 

The conquest of Peronne (v. page 256) had such a quick 
result, because Lieutenant Schmidt, upon his own responsibility, 


had fitted out the requisite siege park with great rapidity, — a park 
which consisted entirely of French material. 

General von Senden was first charged with the siege, then 
General von Barnekow, with ten battalions, eight squadrons and 
54 field guns, whilst Generals von Kummer and Count von der 
Gr6ben were pushed forwards toward Arras for their protection, 
with, altogether twelve battalions, sixteen squadrons and 30 guns. 
There were besides five battalions, twelve squadrons and 30 guns 
left at the disposal of General von G5ben, who had the direction 
of the whole operation. 

Besides this greater undei-taking , the next few days brought 
some smaller encounters. 

On the 28th, a flying column of three companies and three 
squadrons, under Lieutenant Colonel Pestel, came upon an ad- 
vancing column of three battalions of Gardes Mobiles near Longpre^ 

which were beaten, and lost 10 officers and 230 men as prisoners. 
On the 30th of December, Colonel Wittich with another flying 
column took 5 officers and 170 men prisoners at Souchex between 
Arras and Bethune. 

On the 31st of December, five battalions from Rouen, where 
General von Bentheim was in command, made an attack against 
the enemy's forces which had shown themselves on the left bank 
of the Seine. These were par^ scattered and partly thrown 


back into the strong castle, Robert le Dtable, which was stormed 
by the Germans. 

Actions of greater importance did not take place nntil January. 


In the beginning of January 1871, it was found necessary on 
the German side to take into consideration that General Bourbaki 
had marched off from the Loire with an army of about 140,000 
men, with 300 guns, towards the east, i^parently with the intention 
of falling on the German forces at Dijon, of relieving Belfort, and 
above all of making fhe investment of Paris impossible, by operations 
in rear of the main army of the Germans. 

To prevent this, General von Werder, who commanded at 
Dijon, was principally counted upon ; still General von Manteuffel 
was also called away from his command in the north, and received 
the difficult and honourable charge of attacking the now eastern 
army of the French, according to circumstances, with an army 
which was being newly formed, at Chd.tlllon sur Seine, out of the 
II. and Vn. Army Corps. 

General von G8ben^ commanding the VIII. Corps, received 
the chief command in the north, in place of General von Manteuffel, 
whilst General von Bentheim took over the command of the I. Corps. 

On the 1st of January^ General Faidherbe, again, took 
the offensive , with the intention of relieving Peronne. He 
marched upon Bapaume by four parallel roads. On the 2nd of 
January, the 2nd Division of the 22nd Army Corps, at Achiet-le- 
Grand to the north-west of Bapaume, and the 1st Division to the 
north of it, at Sapignies, came upon Strubberg's Brigade, of the 
15th Infantry Division, to which place it had been pushed forward; 
and from midday until evening made vigorous attacks against it, 
but were always repulsed. 

According to General von Goben*s own account, the infantry 
of the YIU. Army Corps had, at that time, been so weakened by 
illness and hardships, that the battalions, on an average, moved 


into the fight only 500 men in strength, some even as low as 350 
and 400 strong. The five battalions of the 3rd reserve Division 
now standing before P^ronne, whicli had arrived immediately before, 
were alone in greater strength. Strubberg's Brigade, therefore, did 
its work in a superior manner. 

In the evening General von Enmmer had, in consequence of 
this fight, concentrated his whole Division — estimated by General 
von GOben, at the highest, at 5500 men with 400 horses and 
24 guns — at Bapaume, and before the following morning, all the 
troops that could be disposed of were directed there by the corps 
commanders, so that on the 3rd of December a detachment of 
3 battalions, 8 squadrons and 24 guns, under Prince Albert of 
Prussia, and another of five battalions with 24 guns, were ready 
at the immediate disposition of General von Gdben, for the support 
of the 15th Division. To the latter Division 12 guns were 
assigned in addition. 

Early in the morning General Faidherbe proceeded to the 
attack. He succeeded in taking the villages to the north of 
Bapaume, which were only weakly occupied; his repeated attacks, 
however^ against the main position at Bapaume were completely 
repulsed, and his attempts at surrounding were also wrecked by 
the advance of the detachments brought up to assist General 

The French army found itself compelled to commence its 
retreat upon Arras early on the 4th of January, whilst General von 
G5ben, on account of scarcity of ammunition, had even given the 
order to evacuate the Bapaume position. 

The loss of the French amounted to 53 officers and 2056 men, 
besides 800 missing; the loss of the Germans to 47 officers and 
996 men. 

The German cavalry pursued for some miles, scattering singlt 
battalions which were covering the retreat; but then the German 
troops also retired, for in their weak numbers, they could not 
have the object of moving forward against the fortresses of the Borth, 


General von Benikehn, at the same time, conducted an ex- 
pedition against the French General Roye, npon the left bank of 
the Seine. He fell npon this corps on the 4th of January, scattered 
it, and took 3 colours, 2 guns and about 500 prisoners. 


In January the German I. Army was distributed over a very 
wide extent of country, at Rouen, to the south of this town, and 
as far as the sea, also at Amiens and Peronne. The distribution 
of the French Corps necessitated this extended radius of ob- 
servation and occupation. Upon this General Faidherbe, formed 
the plan of altering his station towards the east, and thus of being 
able to execute a diversion in rear <rf the enemy. 

He, designedly, caused the news to be spread that it was 
his intention to advance upon Amiens, and, in the meanwhile, he 
marched upon St. Quentin, in the middle of the month, with 40,000 
men and 70 guns, but weak in cavalry. 

General von Gdben, however, did not allow himself to be 
deceived by the telegrams from Brussels, announcing Faidherbe*s 
presence at Arras. His reconnaissances kept feeling with the French 
Army, and in consequence of the reports brought to him by the 
eavalry, he moved off, on tlie 18th of January, with all the troops 
he could bring together, the whole of the VIII. Corps, part of 
the I. Corps and the 3rd Cavalry Division, fi'om Amiens towards 
St. Quentin, making use of the railroad. On this day he reached 
Nesle. Peronne, having fallen on the 10th of January, was in 
German hands, and secured the left flank. 

General Faidherbe had caused the town of St, Quentin, 
situated on both banks of the Somme, an important point of support 
and a considerable railway station, to be occupied by his advanced 
guard on the 15th, and, after the weak German garrison had 
withdrawn, he moved in with his main body on the 17th, and 
then took up a position upon the heights to the south of the 
town. As early as the 18th, a collision took place with the German 


advanced guard, under General von Memerty, in which the French 
were defeated. On the 19M of January a decisive battle was 
fought^ in which, besides the troops mentioned, Count Lippe's 
Saxon Cavalry Division with the 12th Jager battalion and two 
horse batteries, from La F^re, were able to take part, so that 
the German strength, altogether, was 39 battalions, 53 squadrons 
and 162 guns. General von G5ben, on the morning of the 19th, 
directed the 15th Division, in the centre, upon Savy; Count 
Grfiben's Cavalry Division with part of the I. Corps, upon the left 
wing, for a surromiding, upon Marteville ; the 16th Infantry Division, 
upon the right wing, by Seraucourt upon St. Quentin ; and finally, 
the combined detachment from La F^re to make a surrounding 
movement against this town upon the extreme right flank. 

A reserve consisting of four battalions and regiment of cavalry 
followed, with the commanding General's Staff, upon the road 
Douchy — St. Quentin. 

The 16th Division was first engaged. The enemy stood facing 
it, in a strong position, between the villages of Grugis and Neu- 
lUle St. Amanda which was obstinately defended. The last 
village and Gauchy were occupied by the 1st Division of the 
22nd French Corps, and the former and Castres by the 2nd Division. 

Soon after the combat had arisen here, the 15th Division 
also commenced the attack upon a portion of the French 23rd Corps, 
at Javy. In the centre of the French position, the rising ground 
with the windmill Tout-Venty General Faidherbe's point of view, 
was also occupied by the 23rd Corps. The separation of the two 
Corps by the canal de Crozal, so that they were unable to render 
each other mutual support except by a circuit through the town, 
proved disadvantageous for the French. The village of Castres 
was soon evacuated by the 22nd Corps; at Gfmgis and Neuville 
the fighting was hotter. At last, however, when the 16th division, 
with the assistance of part of the reserves, had taken both these 
villages after a contest of many hours, and amid great losses, 
whilst upon both flanks the surrounding had come into effect, the 
whole French tine was forced hack from its original position^ 
and constrained to occupy a second line, lying further back. The 
undulating ground here favoured the French in a high degi'ce. 


WhilBt the Oeiman colmnnB were following, Faidherbe, at 2 o'clock 
p. m. y attempted an offenBive moyement. He made the 22nd Corps 
advance with a strong force of artillery. The attack , however, 
was without sncceBB, for the 23rd Corps was unable to render it 
proper support, and at 4 o'clock, the whole French Army was in 
full retreat, which, under the efficacious fire of the Gei'man batteries, 
and the numerous pursuing cavalry, degenerated at 7 o'clock in 
the evening into a rapid flight upon Cambrai and Guise. Here 
9000 prisoners and 6 guns fell into the hands of the victors, and 
in St. Quentin, which was occupied in the evening, after being 
defended for a short time, 3000 wounded were found. 

The German loss amounted to 94 officers and 3369 men. 

The victory was dearly bought, but it was decisive, in a high 
degree. The French Northern Army^ which, for two months, 
had accomplished great things under its indefatigable and 
energetic leader, was nearly destroyed, and need no longer 
be of consideration in the further course of the war. 

Thus the second army, which had be^n organized for the 
relief of Paris, was also completely conquered, and its ovei*thr4t^ 
had a considerable share in the capitulation of the capital, and 
in the conclusion of the armistice. 

General von Gdben, in pursuit of the army which continually 
became more broken up, moved in front of the fortress of Cambrai, 
and caused it to be bombarded ; the armistice, however, which had 
been concluded in the meantime, put an end to the military under- 
takings in the north, and brought back the German Northern Army 
over the line of demarcation. 





r of ihe SOUTHEASTl 


The Operations of the South-Eastebk Abmies and the 

Fall of Belfobt. 

(y. the map of the south-eastern theatre of war.) 

The operations in the sonth-eaBtern theatre of war, which 
were carried on by the Germans in the departments of the 
Vosges, Haute Marne, Cote d'Or, Haute Sa6ne, Poubs and Jura, 
after the fall of the fortress of Strasburg until the fall of the 
fortress of Belfort, may be divided into three sections according 
to their different objects. In the first place, the French irregular 
forces had to be driven away from that neighbourhood, and thus 
to secure the chief road of communication between Germany and 
Paris, the Strasburg-Toul-Lagny railway; secondly, Belfort had 
to be conquered; and lastly, in the final stage of the war, the 
powerful advance of the French Eastern Army, which threatened 
to relieve Belfort and to lead on to an invasion of Baden, had to 
be repelled. 

The aim on the side of the French was to interrupt and 
disturb the German undertakings by petty warfare. Belfort was 
very well and very perseveringly defended ; there was, however, 
no serious defence of the country by large masses. It was not 
until January 1871, that the Eastern Army began great ope- 

The peculiar foimation of the ground in this part of the 
theatre of war, and its situation with respect to the rest of the 
operations in the field, traced out the kind of military undertakings 
and explains their objects. 


From the high land of Auvergne, inferior chains of hills 
extend towards the north, uniting with the Vosges by the Sichel- 
bergcy and dividing the Rhone country from that of the Seine and 
Meuse. They form two main sections, the Plateau of Langres in 
the north, and the wine renowned series of hills of the Cdle (FOr, 
in the south, and terminate the extended cincture of mountains 
surrounding, on all sides, the table-land of Burgundy through 
which flow tlie rivers Saone, Oignon, Doubs, to the Rlione stream, 
which receives them. The occupation of this mountainous section 
of country, so very favourable for petty warfare, was essential 
for the security of the lines from Strasburg to Paris as well as 
the Metz-Troyes-Orleans line. Prince Frederick Charles's road to 
the Loire. 

Then again, that remarkable and historically renowned inden- 
tation which divides the southern slope of the Vosges from the 
Jura mountains, rising perpendicularly on the other side, leads 
down from the table-land of Burgundy, through Franche-Comte, 
and forms a wonderfully, clearly defined, road from France to 
Southern Gennany. This ^^Burgundian gate^', which France keeps 
locked with two powerful bolts, Belfort in the first line and Be- 
san9on in the second, gained importance, in a high degree, from 
General Bourbaki's march in January 1871. 


On the 30th of September , the . King , then in Ferrieres, 
issued orders for the formation of the XIV. Army Corps under 
the command of General von ff^erder, who had just taken Stras- 
burg. This Army Corps was to consist of the Baden Division 
and another Division, which was formed of a combined Infantry 
Brigade of the Line under Major General Krug, later von der 
Goltz (30th and 34th Infantry Regiments), and the 1st combined 
Landwehr Brigade under Colonel von Buddenbrock (Landwehr Re- 
giments Nos. 14, 21 and 54) as well as two reserve Cavalry 
Regiments. It was to force the Vosges and scatter the masses of 


French troops, forming to the south of them, in the Cote d'Or. 
Tlie order arrived in Strasburg on the 4 th of October. 

Previously, on the Ist of, October, General von Werder, 
having received information tliat the numerous bodies of volun- 
teers, between St. Di^, Baccarat and Rambervillers, supported by 
Gardes Mobiles, were assuming a military formation, had sent out 
a flying column of Baden troops, composed of six battalions , two- 
and-a-quarter squadrons and two batteries, under Major General 
iwn Degenfeldy towards the Vosges with a similar charge. Tlie 
flying column mai'ched, in three divisions, upon Schirmeck and 
tlirough the Viller valley, everywhere found the roads entrenched 
and barricaded, but only once, on the 4th of October, encountered 
the enemy, at Champenay, and then concentrated, on the 5th of 
October, at Raon FEtape^ a small town (m the Meurthe, which 
was. occupied by Francs-tireurs. 

These were scattered after a short fire-fight, and suffered very 
gi*eat losses. 

On this day General von Degenfeld received orders from 
Strasburg, to consider his column as the advanced guard of the, 
now newly formed, XIV. Corps, whicli was set in movement upon 
Raon TEtape, Etival and St. Di^. The last place was to be occu- 
pied, and reconnaissances were to be made to the west and sontli. 
Accordingly, on the 6th of October, lie started upon the march 
for St. Die, with the greater part of his troops; he was however 
so .vigorously attacked on the right flank, at Etival j from Bruyeres 
and Rambervillers, that he was unable tp reach the town, but had 
to content himself with the repulse of the enemy, about 12,000 
men in strength, consisting of line regiments de marche and Gardes 
Mobiles. The fight lasted seven hours, and led to a loss on the 
Baden side of 22 officers and 382 men; on the French side, of 
1400 men, as well as of 582 un wounded men and 6 officers, as 

On the 7th of October, General von Degenfeld remained 
stationary to the south of Etival, in order to cover the columns 
of the XIV. Corps, now debouching from the mountain passes, 
into the valley of the Meurthe; St. Die, also, was occupied by 
the leading troops of the eclaireurs. 



On the 8th of October, strong columns of the Baden Division 
debouched at Etival and St. Di6, and established the junction. 

For the moment, General von Warder had only the Baden 
field Division and a combined Prussian Brigade disposable for his 
undertakings towards the west and south, as the remainder were 
required to garrison Strasburg and the rest of Alsace. These 
troops, were at Raon TEtape on the 9th of October, after accom- 
plishing the passage, of tlie Vosges, and on the two following days 
commenced the march upon Epinal, in four columns. On the 
evening of the 9th, a reconnaissance had already led to a fight at 
Rambervillers \ on the 10th, there was a small conflict at ^noi^M, 
and on the 11th, at Brouvelliei^s. On the 12th, the enemy 
attempted to take up a position at Epinal, but was driven away 
by artillery fire. 

On the 12th of October, General von fVerder removed 
his head-quarters to 'Epinal^ and made reconnaissances towards 
the west and south. It turned out that the enemy had marched 
ofl^ upon Vesoul. 

In consequence of this, from tlie 15th to the 18th of October, 
the Corps moved towards Vesoul, by Xertigny and St. Loup, found 
the communications everywhere interrupted, the railroads and via- 
ducts destroyed and blown up, but met with no encounter as the 
enemy had gone further back upon Bel fort and Besangon. In 
the latter fortress, the head-quarters of General Cambtnelsj the 
Chief Commander of the French forces in the east, it was learnt 
that Garibaldi had also an'ived but had again departed to organize 
a volunteer army in Dijon. 

General von fVerder established his head - quarters in 
Vesoul on the 20th. and 21st of October, and on the 22nd 
commenced his movement against Besan9on, correctly anticipating, 
that he would find some of the enemy's forces in the neighbour- 
hood of this strong fortress. 

The advance against the Oignon river was so arranged that 
the 1st Baden Brigade, Prince William's, forming the right wing, 
marched from Frasne-le-Chateau upon Pin, by Autorelle; the 2nd 
Baden Brigade, Major General von Degenfeld's, in the centre, from 
Fretigny upon Etuz and Cussey, by Oiselay; and the 3rd Baden 


Brigade, Major General von Keller, upon the left wing, on Voray, 
by Rioz. The Prussian Brigade followed, in the centre, as a re- 
serve, under General Knig. Finally, Major General von Laroche 
had been given the mission on this day, of reaching the country 
of Dole and Auxonne, and of destroying the railroads there ; he had 
eight squadrons, a horse battery and two companies of infantry 
in waggons, under his command. In order to secure the connec- 
tion, Vesoul remained occupied by two battalions and some cavalry; 
the country was also investigated from Port-sur-Saone to the west 
and soutli. 


The passage of the strongly swollen river had now to be 
taken in hand, the crossing of whicli it was anticipated would be 
defended, even on this side. 

In fact at* 11 o'clock a.m., reports already came in to Ge- 
neral von Werder, in Oiselay, that the left wing had come upon 
the enemy to the sontli of RioZy and was driving liim before it; 
that the centre had found Etus and Cussey strongly occupied, 
and that the advanced guard of tlie right wing, only, had found 
the passage free at Pin, 

The order was now given for the centre, Degenfeld's Brigade, 
to carry on a detaining fight against the positions lying in front, 
until Prince William, informed of the situation of affairs, Kad 
crossed the river, and could take the enemy, in rear, at Cussey, 
on tlie left bank. General Keller was to advance steadily. 

General von Degenfeld, consequently, attacked Elux^ but drove 
the enemy out of it quicker than was calculated upon, so that he 
was able to proceed to the attack of Cussey before the right 
wing came up. 

The village, lying on the other bank, and rising in the form 
of terraces, offered considerable advantages for the defence; never- 
theless the 2nd Brigade succeeded in taking the position quite 
alone. The artillery bombarded the village from two points, and 



the infantry then rushed to the asganlt, over a stone bridge which 
was there. Two chefs de bataillon of the enemy, eleven ofQcers 
and 200 men were taken prisoners, and great losses in killed 
and wounded were inflicted on the French. 

The pursuit however, led to a further continuation of the 
fight. The cavalry met with resistance in the direction of Auacon- 
DeBsus\ and upon the heights at Chdtillon-le-Duc^ strong masses 
of the enemy showed themselves, who also brought artillery into 
action. The resistance, however, could not last long, for upon 
the left wing. General von Keller's advanced guard was already 
in Voray, and upon the right wing, the heads of Prince William's 
Brigade had reached Auxon-Dessus. Against the last place, two 
battalions and three batteries were pushed forward from Cussey, 
two battalions moved against Chatillon-le-Duc, by Geneuille, and 
one battalion for their support towards Geneuille. Thus the enemy 
was soon defeated with con^derable losses, and Auxon-Dessus was 
occupied as darkness was setting in. 

The losses of the Germans amounted to 3 officers and 
96 men. 


To attack the fortress of BesauQon was not in General von 
W«rder*s power, nor did it lie in his mission. The enemy's 
forces were, here, beaten and scattered; it consequently appe^ed 
expedient to turn to the dpot where it was presumed, that Gari- 
baldi formed a nucleus for the Francs-tireurs. 

The march was, therefore, first directed upon Gray^ impor- 
tant as a railroad-junction; from there it would lead upon Dijon. 
On the 24th of October, the Army Corps was united in the former 
town, and for some days, flying columns were sent out from 
here, all round, to scatter bands of the enemy. Small fights took 
place on the 27th of October, between the German troops and 
the Francs-tireurs and armed peasants^ at three different places, 


St. Seine tEglise^ Beneve and in the immediate neighbourhood 
of Gray, 

On the 28th, General von Werder, formed up his troops 
along the Virgeanne, a tributary stream of the Sadne ; pushed for- 
ward Prince William's Brigade towards Mirebeau, and intended to 
move towards Dijon on the 29th. 

This plan was, however, crossed by a command from the 
King's Head -Quarters directing the XIV. Army Corps to hold 
Gray for the purpose of commanding the plateau of LangreSy 
in order that Prince Frederick Charles should not be troubled 
by an enemy on his left flank, during his march from Metz, by 
Troyes, to the Loire. 

General von Werder returned, with the greater part of his 
force to Gray, but made the 2nd and 3rd Brigades, under com- 
mand of Lieutenant General von Beyer, continue the advance upon 
Dijon y in order to occupy this important town, which, accord- 
ing to the reports of the advanced guard, was denuded of 

The whole country, in a wide circuit, was most insecure; 
the population was stirred up by the government, by the chiefs 
of the volunteer bands and by the priests, which latter tried to 
kindle a religious warfare; the mountainous country favoured the 
assembly and escape of the lawless bands; thus the German 
bodies of troops were forced into marching to and fro continually, 
and to almost daily conflicts; here also, more than elsewhere, 
executions by martial law and other means of terror were em- 
ployed against that part of the population who, contrary to all the 
laws of war, appeared today as armed men and the next day as 
citizens or peasants, but always with inimical designs. 

General von Werder found himself compelled to march back 
again from Gray to Vesoul, for new enemies had appeared in his 
rear; meanwhile a contest had taken place at Dijon, in an un- 
expected manner. 



Prince William* b Brigade, which left Mirebean on the 30th of 
October, met with resistance on the march to Dijon, and although 
inconsiderable at first, it became every hour more vehement, and 
culminated in an obstinate defence of the suburb of St. ApoUinaire. 
At the approach of the Geimans, line battalions de marche and 
Gardes Mobiles had, by the desire of some of the inhabitants of 
Dijon, been Vought together at the last moment, out of the entire 
neighbourhood for the defence of the town, which, although an 
open one, was still well calculated for resistance. The commandant 
of these troops , Colonel Fauconay, occupied the wall - enclosed 
vineyard hills of the suburbs, as well as the ancient rampart with 
its wet ditches, and only bridge -like approaches to the town. 

The fight was very hot. Keller's Brigade not having yet 
come up, and Prince William's Brigade not having completely con- 
centrated, General von Beyer opened a preliminary fire of 
artillery with 36 guns, so that several conflagrations had broken 
out in the town in the evening. The fire was now stopped, while 
both brigades stood ready, the 2nd upon the right wing near 
St. Apollinaire, and the 3rd upon the left wing, to be able to commence 
the assault on the following morning, or again to take up the 
cannonade. But, even before break of day, a deputation fi*om the 
town appeared, who ofiered the eapitulation of the city, and 
declared that Dijon was evacuated by the French troops. 

The loss of the Baden troops amounted to 32 killed and 213 
wounded; that of the French to 160 killed and about 300 wounded. 

Dijon was occupied an the -Zlst of October. 

The siege operations in Alsace stand in connection with the 
operations in the open field. As has been already related (Chapter IX), 
the 4th Reserve Division, consisting of the 25th Infantry Regiment 
of the Line, and the combined east Prussian Landwehr Regiments 
Nos. 1, 2 and 3, and two reserve Cavalry Regiments, moved into 
Alsace in October, under command of Major General von Schmeling, 
had brought Schlettstadt to capitulate on the 24th, and had then 
moved before Neu - Breisack. This last fortress fell on the lOth 


of November. In October another detachment of Prussian Land- 
wehr had been formed, likewise in the Grand Duchy of Baden, 
consisting of one battalion from each of the Landwehr Regiments 
10th and 84th, and two battalions from each of the Landwehr 
Regiments, 7th, 47th and 51st, as well as two squadrons, under 
the command of General^i^on DebsehUtz. These moved into 
Alsace in the end of October, and there took up the duties of 
General von Tresckow's Ist Pomeranian Landwehr Division. The 
latter was now able to proceed towards the south, and on the 
3rd of November, commenced also the attack of the fortress of 
Belfort by a preliminary investment. After the fall of Neu- 
Breisach, von Schmeling^s Division undeiiiook, on their part, the 
security of the Etappen roads in the departments of the Vosges 
and Haute -Saone, and thereby enabled General von Werder to 
concentrate his troops of the Line for further enterprises of an 
offensive nature, without having again to feai* a disturbance in 
his rear. 

Prince Frederick Charles's advance towards Orleans had been 
secured from interruption with complete success, by the XIV. Army 
Corps, from the plateau of Langres. 



AuxonnCy a fortified place with a citadel, situated on the 
Sadne, was, like Be6an9on, a- rendez-vous for the ever newly 
rising bands of Francs - tireurs and foreign adventurers, who 
followed Garibaldi's flag. General von Werder therefore wished, 
by an operation upon Auxonne, to attempt to bring the enemy to 
stand and fight, in the same way as he had succeeded at Besangon. 
It did not, however, come to this. No enemy showed himself in 
the open field, and, being deficient in siege guns. General von 
Werder could not attempt the attack of the small, strongly occu. 
pied fortress ; it might also be expected, that in the neighbourhood 


of Dijon, if not here, a blow could be stnick with decisive 

"Garibaldi was, according to the latest news, at Dijon. This 
well-known, bold and fantastic Italian had come to France with 
designs, which probably have completely destroyed his political 
fame for ever, just as his military renown has been completely 
annihilated by the very inconsiderable part which he played in 
the campaign; and had attracted among his adherents, persons 
whose presence prove that the old free -hooter had entirely lost 
both his knowledge of mankind, as well as the mastery over the 
elements led by him*). It was also a disgraceful undertaking on 
his part, to take the field against the sons of a country with which 
his own land was living in peace. 

For all that, however, the ackaowledgment is due to him, 
as well as to his sons and to some of his friends, that in the 
field itself, in battle, and in thfeir treatment of German prisouei-s 
and wounded men, they behaved chivalrously and knew how to 
respect the enemy and the honour of their own names, better 
than did many of the French generals and officers. It also will 
not be forgotten that Riccioiti Garibaldi gave back the colour 
of the 2nd battalion of the 8th Pomeranian Infantry Regiment 
No. 61, which had fallen into his hands on the 23rd of January, 
by an unlucky accident — the only colour of the whole German 
army which was lost — j in just recognition of his brave enemy, 
as it had not been taken in combat. * 

Garibaldi's force has been reckoned, in the estimates appearing 
in the "Riforma" at Florence, upon secure grounds, as follows: 

.*) Colonel Riistow, in his interesting work *'Der Krieg unj, die Rhein- 
grenze 1870 — 71", says: *'At the end of the year 1870 the troops of the 
Italian southern army were reckoned, by the pay-office authorities, at 
70,000 men, including about '2000 generals and colonels. Upon the battle 
fields, however, no more than 15,000 men were ever seen, even in the times 
of the greatest danger, and among them, perhaps, hardly more than 
15 generals and colonels". Here , as in almost every respect, this excellent 
military author has been very well informed. The detailed estimates, since 
published in the ,,Rifornia", confirm his calculation. 


Ist Brigade (Bossak ^ Hauke). . . 4001 men, 
2nd Brigade (Delpech) .... 2088 „ 
3rd Brigade (Menotti Garibaldi) . 5560 „ 
4tb Brigade (Ricciotti Garibaldi) . 1157 „ 

Artillery .* 571 „ 

Cavalry 520 „ 

Isolated Volunteer Corps .... 1585 „ 

Various branches 1985 „ 

Total 17,467 men. 
The town of Dijon had, without doubt, been occupied by 
Garibaldi's bands, shortly after the Baden troops had left it in 
order to march against Auxonne, in conjunction with the remaining 
portions of the XIV. Corps. 

When, however, General von Werder again turned against 
Dijon, in the middle of November, the Garibaldians retired towards 
the south-west, without a contest. 

General von Werder established his head -quarters in Dijon, 
sent out flying columns from here on all sides, Jbut at the same 
time made Keller's Brigade continue the march by Nuils upon 
Auiun, A small fight occurred on this march, at NuitSy on the 
30th of November. 

Keller's Brigade described a wide circuit in marching fi*om 
Nuits to Autuu (1st of December), from there again to Beaune, 
and thence towards the north. 

Langres, a fortified place with a strong gamson, was watched 
by the Pinissian Infauti'y Brigade, now under the command of 
Major General von der Goltz. On the 16th of December, an 
engagement took place at LongeaUy between this brigade and a 
force of the enemy of about 6000 men, in which the French 
were beaten. 

Another encounter took place at Chdtillon^sur-Seine. There, 
Unna's Landwehr battalion and two squadrons of the 5th reserve 
Hussar Regiment, were attacked, on the 19th of November by 
bands of volunteers, and were obliged to retire npon Chatean-Vilain, 
with the loss of 120 men and 70 horses. 

A combat also occurred at Dijon itself, for Garibaldi's troops 
suddenly emerged to the north-west of the town. At night -fall 



on the 26th of November, the oat-posts of a reconnoitring detach- 
ment were attacked from Pasques, and, after receiving support, 
repulsed the enemy. The following day General von Werder 
himself advanced with three brigades, and through going round 
by Plombi^res, reached the rear guard of the enemy at Pasqnes, 
already in full retreat. A fight took place which soon converted 
the retreat of Garibaldi's troops into a flight. The latter suffered 
a loss of from 300 to 400 men ; the loss of the Germans amounted 
to about 50 men, both days inclusive. 

The next serious encounter with the moveable enemy, who 
was so difficult to catch, did not take place until after the middle 
of December, when already a large accumulation of troops in the 
east seemed to wish to announce Bourbaki's powerful advance 

Besides Garibaldi, a mass of about 15,000 men. Gardes 
Mobiles and Francs-tireurs — called the Armee du Rhdne — had 
collected more to the south, under the French officer, Cremer, 
formerly a captajp on the Staff, who had given his word of honour 
at Metz, on the 31st of October, not to fight against Germany 
again as long as the war lasted, but now, having broken his word 
of honour, he officiated as a General. 


The reports which came into Dijon in th^ middle of December, 
confirmed the advance of the above mentioned anny from Beaune 
towards the north. This movement was, probably, in connection 
with Bourbaki's intended approach, and had the object of covering 
the transport of the eastern army, commencing soon after by the 
railroads from Bourges, Nevers and Lyons upon Besangon, and then 
of securing the flank and rear for further operations, by a position 
at Dijon, in conjunction with Garibaldi. In consequence of this. 
General von Werder found himself obliged to send off the Baden 
Division, now under the command of General von Gltmer^ towards 


the Boath^ in order to throw back the enemy from his position at 

General von Glfimer moved off on the 18th of December, 
leading the main body himself, consisting of eight battalions, six 
squadrons and five batteries, by Longwie and Epernay, against the 
enemy's right wing; whilst, on his right, two small detachments 
pressed forward against Villars - Fontaine , by Urcy and Temant, 
and from Courcelles against GoncoBur, by GhamboBuf. 

Rifle skirmishes began with the leading troops, even at Fenay, 
but the mai*ch went on without delay, merely detaching numerous 
parties, and closely searching the hilly, intersected country. 

It was at Boncourt that an obstinate combat with the ad- 
vanced guard first took place, which ended at 12.45 o'clock p.m. 
with the capture of this locality and the piece of wood lying to 
the north-west of It. 

The advanced guard then took up a position in the line La 
Berchfere - Agencourt, and discovered from here that the enemy had 
very considerable forces for disposal at Nuits, and that columns were 
on the march from Vougeot and Beaiine. 

Gremer, having become aware of the danger to which his 
right wing was exposed, here drew together his main force. The 
French artillery was very advantageously placed upon the heights 
to the west of Nuits, from where they could command the free 
and open field of attack of the Germans. 

On the German side, no action of the columns on the right 
could yet be observed. 

Towards 1 o'clock, the Baden troops were formed for the 
attack, their ai*tillery tiled to shake the columns which were visible 
opposite, and at the same time fired from the bridge, across the 
Meuzin brook, upon the strongly occupied railway cutting as far 
as to the Fontaine de Vosne. The cavalry was sent forward upon 
the extreme left flank. 

After the disposition for battle had been completed, the 
infantry attack against the railway cutting was carried out ; General 
von Gltlmer, as well as General von Werder himself, joined in 
this hazardous undertaking. The troops could only advance amid 


Hevere losses in the entirely open country, and under the fearfully 
rapid fire of the enemy; — the Division commander as well as 
Prince William were wounded, and Colonel von Renz, who suc- 
ceeded to the command* was killed with his aide-de-camp — , 
nevertheless at 3.30 o'clock, the eastern side of the railway cutting 
was stormed, with extraordinary courage. The artillery had also 
gained ground, by degi-ees, in a self-sacrificing manner, as in so 
doing they drew upon themselves the cannon fire of the enemy. 
Likewise, after taking the railway cutting, connection was again 
found with the nearest flanking detachment on the right; but upon 
the left wing, the cavalry who had to cross the Meuzin brook, 
was obliged to retire again, under- the hot infantry fire of the 
enemy, to the heights of Agencourt. Cremer's troops were armed, 
throughout, with Spencer and Chassepot rifles. 

The town of Nuits itself had now still to be taken. 

Supported by the artillery, of which PorbecR's and Holty's 
batteries, amongst others, distinguished themselves by making a 
brilliant advance, the infantry went forward, from the railway 
cutting, against Nuits, gained the outskirts, stoimed one street 
after another under an obstinate resistance, and at 4.30 o'clock, 
when it was getting daA, had repulsed the enemy from all his 
positions and driven him, in full flight, before it. 

The losses of the enemy were considerable, above 2000 men 
in killed and wounded, and 16 officers and 700 men as prisoners. 

On the German side the loss amounted to 934 men, including 
54 officers. 

A report from the column on the extreme right flank only 
arrived in the night. It had come upon the enemy in a very 
strong, favourable position at VillarSj had been unable to defeat 
him, and had returned by Chamboeuf to Perigny. 

As it was not the intention to pursue the totally dispersed 
enemy any further towards the south, the Baden Division re- 
turned to Dijon on the following afternoon, the 19th of December. 





(v. the map of the Siege of Belfort.) 

Tresckow's Landwehr Division had, as already mentioned, 
received the charge of, at first, investing the fortress of Belfort. 
After several small fights at Les Errues, Rougemoni and Petit- 
Magny, the Division succeeded, on the 3rd of November in ap- 
proaching so near to the fortress, that a gradual blockade could 
be commenced. 

Even the first steps towards the investment were attended 
with great difficulties, and the complete investment and finally the 
siege formed one of the most arduous tasks of the whole war. 
The position of the place is unusually favoured by nature, both 
as regards the capabilities for defence of the fortress and the 
forts themselves, and also as regards the country, which, in a wide 
circumference, oflFers every possible obstacle to the approach of 
an enemy. 

Every spectator, even from afar, must be imbued with a sense 
of the great power of resistance of this high rock fortress, with 
its grand outlines, rising aloft from its cleft -divided, richly wooded 

The fortress forms a pentagon, the regularity of which is 
interrupted by the protruding citadel in the south-eastern angle, 
and by a powerful horn-work upon the north front. High tower 
redoubts, rise on all fronts like the citadel. The latter has two 
bombproof barracks, three circumvallations furnished with flank 
casemates, hollow traverses and redoubts in the covered way, 
and its ditches are all excavated from the rock. 

The base of the conical rock, upon which Belfort lies, is 
washed by the river Savoureusej which winds through the valley 
with numerous by-streams and tributaries. To the north-east of 
the fortress, upon the I'ocky chain of heights whose buttresses fall 
steeply do^Hi to the Savoureuse, rise the forts of La Miotte and 
La Justice y which are connected, by fortified lines, with Belfort 
and with one another, and in this manner form an entrenched 
camp (camp relranchi permanent du vallan). 


Both forts are of considerable sti*eiigth. 

There are also two forts lying in the west, des Barres and 
Bellevue. The first, originating from the year 1867 and built 
in view of the meditated war against Prussia, takes the form of a 
crown-work and is provided with several covered places ; it covers 
the Faubourg des Anc^tres and the Faubourg de France ; the latter 
fort, to the south of the Faubourg de France, is very irregular 
and is not of the same importance as the other forts. 

In the south and east there are still the Forts Hautes-Perchcs 
and Basses- Perches J 2500 paces from the enceinte, which have 
already been alluded to in the relation of the retreat of the French 
corps, after the battle of Woerth (page 83). At that time the 
troops of the 7th Corps were occupied in completing the earth 
works of these forts and also of Fort de la Ferme. Both Perches 
are built in the form of lunettes and crown a ridge of hills 400 
feet high. They were quite new, and the present commandant, 
Colonel Denfertj had neglected nothing in order to place them in 
a condition . capable of defence. 

Belfort thus forms a great mountainous entrenchment, which 
is fortified, throughout, in the strongest manner, and is sufficiently 
large to receive an army of 30,000 men. Added to this, the sur- 
rounding villages, the woods, and the hills are all very easy of 
defence in connection with the fortress. 

A regular attack, approaching the enceinte by means of 
trenches, is nearly impossible, the only expedient is to combine 
the regular attack and the bombardment, with the object of laying 
a breach from a distance. That too is associated with infinite 
trouble. The complete investment, however, must be preceded 
by the conquest of the ground in front. 

In order to attain this, Tresckow's Division had to accomplish 
extraordinary things. Belfort was defended by an energetic, ca- 
pable officer with above 12,000 men. 

At first the strong castle of Montbeliard (Mumpeigard), came 
into question, situated in the proximity of the forti'ess, only 
3 (about 14 English miles) miles distant, a junction for several 
roads, at the confluence of the Allaine, the Savoureuse and the 


Lisaine, as well as of the Rhine-RhOne canal, and a point for the 
besiegers to obtain at all risks. 

On the 9th of November the Germans succeeded in occupying 
the castle, and now, in fourteen days fighting. General von Tresckow 
gained so much ground round Belfort that the investment was ^flPec- 
tually completed. After the occupation of Montb^liard, the German 
outposts were, at first, at Bourogne, half way between Delle and 
Belfort, then by degrees, first Sermamagny, in the north, was occu- 
pied, and from here Valdoie; Cravanche, OflFemont and Vetringe 
were taken, and on the 23rd of November, after all the positions 
previously captured had been fortified and secured, the line of 
investment round Belfort was closed, running nearly by the vil- 
lages of Bavilliers, Chevremont, P6rouse and Cravanche. The 
Head-Quarters were removed, this day, from La Chapelle to Fon- 
taine. Continual sorties and constantly recurring fights round the 
important village of BaviUiers^ had retarded, thus long, the ac- 
complishment of the investment. 

The most important of these fights Were: on the 16th of 
November, a sortie by three battalions and six guns, from the 
fortress against Bessoncourt] then on the 23rd of November, another 
similar sortie, which ended in the Germans taking possession of 
important positions, near the fortress. In the first combat, the 
French suflfered the loss of 200 killed and wounded, and 58 

In the beginning of December, the construction of batteries 
and excavation of trenches was commenced, the completion of 
which the besieged endeavoured to prevent by a vigorous fire from 
about 70 guns. 

Tresckow* s Division was reinforced by Prussian and Wurtem- 
berg siege artillery for can*ying out the proper siege and bom- 
bardment. In spite of the enemy's fire and the rocky ground, 
the German pioneers succeeded in finishing a series of trenches 
and embankments, in the night of the 2nd of December, in front 
of the village of Essert, which may be called the first parallel. 
In the irregular line mentioned, the batteries No. 1 to No. 6 were 
erected and equipped (v. the map), so that on the morning of the 
Srd of December J fire was opened from 28 gunsj against the 


Forts des Barres and Bellevue, as well as against the citadel 

The defenders replied with great energy, and obliged the 
assailants to withdraw some of the less favonrably posted guns. 
Most of the guns, however, held out, and brought into account 
the superiority of the Prussian artillery material, in its accustomed 
brilliant manner, so that, by the 9th of December, under the con- 
stantly maintained efficacy of the rifled guns, paii; of the town 
had been burnt down, and the works of the forts were considerably 
injured. However the forts, especially Bellevue, also gained suc- 
cesses against the villages of Essert and, particularly, BavillierB, 
up to which the parallel had, by degrees, been opened, and 
furnished with batteries Nos. 10 to 12. 

On the 1 1th, the garrison attempted a sortie against the bat- 
teries, which was, however, repulsed. The bombardment was now 
also undertaken from the south-east, east and north, and then, in 
January, although Bourbaki's approach w^ already in prospect, 
preliminaries were made for the regular attack agaiiut the Forts 
Basses-Perches and Haiiies- Perches , from DanjoutiUj amid un- 
precedented difficulties. To this end, the village of Danjoutin had 
first to be taken, with hard fighting, in the night of the 7th of 
January; thus after a bombardment of nearly five weeks, from 
distantly situated batteries. At the assault of this village — a 
testimony to the obstinacy of the defence and the attack — , 700 
un wounded prisoners with 18 officers fell into German hands, 
without reckoning the heavy losses in killed and wounded. 

When, however, all these advantages had been gained, and 
the regular attack could commence, a temporary cessation in the 
undertakings of the besiegers was brought on by the attack of 
the French Eastern Army upon the positions of the XIF, Army 
Corps. General von Tresckow was obliged to show front with 
part of his Division towards the west, and to place a portion of 
his heavy guns at General von Werder's disposal, against the new 
oflFensive of the enemy. 

Seldom, perhaps, has a siege been combined with sucli great 
difficulties, and seldom so gloriously carried out. 



After the engagement at Nuits, General von Werder had 
again established his Head-Quai*ters in Dijon, and hoped, from his 
central position in the Cote d'Or? to carry on, successfully, the 
suppression of the people's warfare and the dispersion of Garibaldi's 
and Cremer's bands. It then became evident from various signs 
(what had long ago been conjectured), that Bourbaki's army, which 
had been for a long time in the neighbourhood of Bourges and 
Nevers like a threatening and constantly increasing thunder cloud, 
was turning towards him. Botirbaki, as already mentioned (Chapter 
XI.) united three Corps under his command, the 15th, 18th, and 
20th; the 24th Corps, newly formed in Lyons, was moreoven^ 
now placed under him, making a total of about 140,000 men with 
above 300 guns. In the last half of December and the first 
days of January this army was completely concentrated at 
Besangonj by making use of the railroads which, on the one side, 
lead from Nevers to Besan9on by Chlilons-sur*Sadne , as well as 
from Lyons direct, and on the other side, likewise thither by 
ChUlons. This mode of traffic was obviously injurious to the 
success of the undertaking*), since it was impossible to conceal 
from the Germans, the transit across the last tract of country, 
whilst an unexpected appearance at -Besangon was indispensable, 
and besides, this mode of traffic injured in every respect the fitness 
for battle of these young troops. 

Bourbaki's departure had also become known in the King's 
Head-Quarters at Versailles, 4lind a commaiid was issued, from here, 
to General von Werder to retard the onslaught of the French, 
whilst rapid measures were taken, at the same time, to send help 
from the north to the XIV. Army Corps. 

General von Werder was in a most hazardous position. 

His forces were just sufficient to hold in check the enemy 

*) The author here, once more, draws attention to the work **Milita* 
rische Gedanken und Betrachtungen'*, by the author of the ^^Krieges um 
Metz'*, in which Bourbaki's march, in relation to the use of railroads, is 
very thoroughly treated. 



now already upon the scene of war, but a new enemy had jcnned 
the first, who alone waa in onmberB threefold saperior to the eom- 
bined Oerman Army Corps. This new powerful army, also, was 
under the command of a real soldier, the former commander of 
the Imperial Guard, who was certainly a leader experienced in 
war, although he could not be called a great general 

The siege of Belfort could not be raised, lest a new, active 
enemy should arise in rear of the German positions. The gap 
between the Vosges and the Jura, above all, could not be set free, 
else nothing could have prevented the entrance of the French into 
Baden. To oppose the French forces, which, including Garibaldrs 
and Cromer's troops and the garrisons of Belfort and Besan^on, 
n^ust have amounted to more than 180,000 men, only one corps 
of about 50,000 men — reckoning all together, even the siege 
troops of Belfort — could be produced. 

Should these troops be overthrown, the rapacious and revenge- 
thirsting troops of the republic would pour into Baden without a 
check. Assistance from the north-west, the German ^Southern 
Army*' under lianteuffel, could not possibly arrive in time to retard 
Bourbaki*8 advance. 

The position of the XIV. Army Corps might have been a 
desperate one, if — this Corps had not been a German one, 
every man a capable^ faithful soldiery and the commander a 

As soon as General von Werder had gained the spot decided 
on for stopping Bonrbaki's army, he gave up the extended line he 
held possession of, and concentrated all %e disposable troops round 
Vesoul ; these consisted of the three Baden brigades, which were at 
Dijon, von der Goltz's combined Brigade, at Langres, and the 
4th reserve Division which was very widely extended from Gray 
to Lure; a Corps, put together from the most diverse sections 
of the troops, whose firm cohesion and unanimous action form a 
brilliant testimony to the excellent leadership and military capabi- 
lity of each single part. 

In the latter days of December the Corps was united at Fesoulj 
with the rear guard at Gray, Here General von Werder be- 


came conviuced that Bourbaki's offensive would be direeted agaiiist 
Belforty and took measures accordingly. 

Bourbaki approached very slowly. His main body, the 15th, 
18th and 20th Corps, commenced its movement in the direction 
of Belfort from Besan^on, his right wing, the 24th Corps, moving 
along the Jura to the same destination. In order to cover his left 
"flank, Garibaldi and Cremer were to operate from Dijon, and 
these two commandera were probably destined to advance indepen- 
dently against the German lines of communication, after the 
hoped-for overthrow of the XIV. Army Corps. 

As soon as the Germans had left Dijon on the 28th of De- 
cember, Garibaldi's and Cromer's troops moved in. On the 2nd 
of January 1871, Bourbaki himself arrived in Dijon, and on the 
same day, 200 men, forming the outermost leading troops of the 
French 24th Corps, who had already stolen near to the investing 
corps of Belfort, by the extreme frontier of France and Switzer- 
land, were driven on to Swiss teiTitory, by General von Tresckow, 
at Croix to the south of Delle. 

On the 5th and 6th of January different outpost fights took 
place to the south of Vesoul, with the heads of Bourbaki's left 

These removed all doubt as to Bourbaki's obj.ect. The French 
army was going direct for Belfort 

General von fVerder decided to retire upofi this fortress, 
and J without giving up the siege of Belfort, to occupy the 
favourable positions along the Lisaine^ fronting towards the 
west. He at once made his dispositions for marching to the rear, 
but first detached von der Goltz's Brigade and the 4th reserve 
Division against the left flank of the French Army, in order to 
cause it some further delay. 

The bold undertaking of^these troops led to the hot fights 
at Marat and Villersexel ft the 9th of January. 

Villersexel, with its strong castle, and also Marat, had ahready 
been strongly occupied by the troops covering the flank of the 
French, when the German advanced guard approached. The Ger- 
mans attacked resolutely, stormed (the 25th Infantry Regiment) 



the caatle of Villersexel, drove out the euemy from both places, 
and made nearly 500 prisoners in Villersexel alone. 

These fights , lasting for sixteen hours ^ completely falfilled 
their object. Bourbaki sent strong columns, from all sides, to the 
assistance of the beaten troops covering the flank, whose positions 
had been taken by assanlt, from noon on the 9th of Jsinnary, by 
the Germans, whilst these already re-commenced their further 
march , in order to unite with the main body of the XIV. Army 
Corps, which was steadily retiring upon Belfort. 

This masterly retreatj in immediate feeling with the over- 
powering enemy y had the favourable results of enabling General 
von Werder to reach the defensive positions on the Lisaine 
as early as the 11th of January^ and of allowing him time^ 
before the Ibth of January ^ to fortify his positions and equip 
them in part with the Belfort siege guns. 



The small German army made preparations for the firat and 
last defensive battle, which was fought, on the German side, during 
the whole war — setting aside the sortie battles before Metz and 
Paris. General von Werder had to occupy a line, the great ex- 
tent of which was out of all proportion to the numerical strength 
of his corps, — the whole range of heights and positions, extending 
^m Frahier in the north to Delle in the south-east; a distance 
of 3 German miles (nearly 14 English miles) on the left bank of 
the Lisaine which flows into the Doubs and then back as far as 
the Swiss frontier. The out-posts were stationed upon the right 
bank, pushed some miles to the fr«|^, in order to watch the ap- 
proach of the enemy, whose mighty masses rolled slowly on, 
having been detained for several days by the fight at Villersexel. 

Schmeling*s Division held the centre and the left wing; its 
chief points of support were H^rieourt, Bussurel, B^thoncourt and 
Montb^liard, and its advanced positions, the villages of Ste. Marie, 


Aibre and Tavey. On its right stood von der .Goltz's Brigade, 
whose chief point of support was Echenans, and whose advanced 
ti*oops held Byans and Champey. The Baden Division was upon 
the right wing as far as Frahier; a lai*ge pai*t of it^ however, 
together with detachments from von der Goltz's Brigade, formed 
the main reserve, between Hdricourt and Brdvilliers. Upon the 
extreme left flank, in Montb^liard, there was still a portion of 
Debschtltz's detachment, whose main body was further to the rear, 
at Delle. This detachment had been brought up from Alsace to 
the investing corps of Belfort, at the end of December. 

All the villages and country surrounding them were' carefully 
placed in a state of defence before the arrival of the French. The 
roads and the outskirts of the villages were barricaded, and the 
walls of the houses and those of the fields and gardens provided 
with loop-holes and embrasures; small parts of the wood were 
hewn down where they hindered the range of fire, and parts, in 
favourable situations, were surrounded with abatis; gun emplace- 
ments were prepared in all open places, redoubts constructed and 
equipped with field artillery and siege guns, — especially upon 
the great hill, Les Baragues, in the neighbourhood of H6rioourt, 
which commanded the main road through H^ricourt and the villages 
of Byans and Tavey, — and at Bussurel. Lastly, the bridges 
across the Lisaine were so prepared that they could easily be 
removed or blown up after the anticipated retreat of the advanced 

General von Werder's Head-Quarters were in Br^villiers. 

A remarkable contest then arose between the small, widely 
extended German troops, but which were pliant, active and firm 
as iron, and the great, clumsy masses of the French, unaccustomed 
to war. 

On the 13th of January, the first collision took place. 
Bourbaki's advanced troops attacked the villages of Ste. Marie, 
Aibre and Champey y occupied by the Germans, and took them 
after an obstinate retreating fight of the troops who retired, con- 
formably to the dispositions, on to the left bank. Vigorous attacks 
also took place against Montb^liard, Bethoncoui*t and Bussurel, 


which ended with the capture of Montbeliard by the French. 
The castle only, remained in the hands of the Germans. 

The chief attack, however, first commenced on the 15th of 
January, against the, now recognised, position of the Germans, after 
Bourbaki had concentrated his corps, already seriously shaken and 
disorganised, and exhausted by scarcity of good nourishment. 

On this day, the attack was, for the most part, directed 
against the German left wing and centre. Colonel Zimmermann, 
with the east Prussian Landwehr Brigade, had succeeded on the 
previous day, in again forcing Montbeliard from the French, 
which haa been taken by them on the 13th, and this day was de- 
fended with gi*eat obstinacy. The French right wing was, however, 
strongly re-inforced, so that a successful resistance here was not 
to be expected. General von Werder therefore sent General 
von Glttmer with the 1st Baden Brigade, from the main reserve, 
to the heights on the north-west of Montbeliard, in order to cover, 
from here, Colonel Zimmermann's retreat from this place. The 
castle only remained in possession of the Germans, with the strong 
position to the north-west of this place; in Montbeliard itself the 
French established themselves. In the centre, Bourbaki's repeated 
attacks remained absolutely without success. Here, the contest on 
the German side was, especially, an artillery combat. Tlie field 
batteries, from their excellently prepared positions, as well as the 
heavy guns, sent a destructive fire upon the enemy's batteries and 
infantry columns, a^ soon as they appeared upon the heights on 
the right bank of the Lisaine. The attack upon Hericouri, 
Bilhoncourt and Bussurel was the most desperate. In the latter 
place the French infantry also succeeded in establishing themselves, 
but still they did not come over the Lisaine. 

Even the night did not completely put an end to the straggle. 
Under cover of the darkness the enemy pushed forward his in- 
fantry nearer to the German positions, for a renewed attack on 
the following morning and in doing this repeated fights took 

On the 16th of January a change was made in the French 
attack, for Bourbaki now made the attempt to soiround fhe 


German right wing, whilst the assaults against H^ricourt, in the 
centre, and against the German left wing, relaxed in vigonr. 
This day more employment fell upon the infantry on both sides, 
although the artillery still played an important part, chiefly on 
the German side. 

General von Werder held the same positions as on the pre- 
vious day; the right wing, until now little threatened, was toler- 
ably weak, the main body of the Baden troops was in reserve 
behind H^rieourt, and one brigade still m position behind Mont- 

General Bourbaki, whose left; wing had now been joined by 
Cremer*s troops — Garibaldi, only, remaining at Dijon — attacked 
upon all points with the infaiftry drawn closer up, after having 
prepared the slttack with numerous guns and also mitrailleuses 
batteries. Upon his right wing, whence the main attack only came 
on at 3 o'clock, he was very energetically driven back, with very 
severe losses. In the centre, where Reheral von Schmeling com- 
manded on the German side, the exceedingly hot artillery fire of 
the French was chiefly subdued by the superior fire of the 
artillei*y, in position upon the hill of Les BaragueSj and four 
infantry attacks were repulsed. Upon the left wing, on the other 
hand, Bourbaki, this day, gained some successes. • 

By 8 o'clock in the morning, the French opened a very 
lively fire from their guns against Chenebier and its environs, 
which GObel's and Krutzsch's batteries had to cope with alone. 
The artillery fire on the French side was continually i*e-inforced, 
during the day, by ft^sh batteries, and at last it was observed, 
on the German side, that strong masses of infantry were drawing 
near by the woodlands which border the slope of the valley from 
£tobon to Frahier. This manoeuvre apparently aimed at sur- 
rounding the flank. At the same time masses of infantry ad- 
vanced to the north of Ohagey directly against the flank position 
of the Germans. 

Only the most insiignificant force, three battalions and three 
batteries altogether, could be opposed to these attacks, which 
were led by General Cremer with a force of about 15,000 men. 
A gradual retreat of the German right wing was here inevitable;^ 


in spite of the greatest bravery and skill. The village of Che- 
nebier was evacuated, and the position at the Ferme Bougeot 
was then again taken up, in order to bar the road to Belfort 
from the enemy. The obstinate defence had, however, fulfilled 
its object for this day; Prahier and Ch^nebier were, indeed, oc- 
cupied by the French, still the attack was continued no further. 
Darkness also soon began to set in. 

General von Werder, informed of the dangerous situation of 
the right wing, sent Keller's Brigade there from the Reserve, 
during the night, with the charge of retaking Ch^nebier on the 
following day. In the centi*e, also, the night was to bring no 
rest to the wearied troops, for Bourbaki here attempted an attack 
by surprise. But this also failed, like the former one, through 
the watchfulness of the German out-posts, and thus the morning of 
the 17th of Jannaiy broke, without a gap haying been forced in 
the positions of the Germans. 

On this morning thcf P)sitions of the right wing, were chiefly 
concerned, — the village of Gh^nebier and the woodlands in its 

Two columns under Generals Keller and Degenfeld, alto- 
gether eight battalions, four squadrons and four batteries in 
skength, started from H^ricourt and Echevanne, as early as 
3.30 o'clock in the morning, against Chenebier and the Bois des 
Evants situated in front of it towards the north, and attacked 
the enemy with great impetuosity. The intended surprise did 
not, indeed, fully succeed, for a French out-post beat the alarm, 
still it was possible to take a part of the village before the 
French could o£fer a very considerable resistance. Then , it is 
true, they showed in such considerable nummcal superiorily, that, 
soon after the break of day, General Keller found himself com- 
polled to commence a retreat, with a great number of French 
prisoners and captured baggage. On his right General von De- 
genfeld had been involved in a very hot and tedious combat round 
the Bats des EvaniSj which ended towards noon in the defeat of 
the French, and General von Degenfeld was able to move for- 
ward from Ch^ebier as far as the northern edge. After General 
Keller, in conjunction with von der Goltz's Brigade at Chagey, 


^'i had occupied and stoutly defended the Bois Ferjfy opposite Che- 

^ nebier, the fight lasted until the afternoon, when the exhaustion 

1^ of both sides caused the chief action to fall to the artillery. 

^ Upon the other points of the widely extended battle - field, 

^ renewed attacks had been constantly made by the French in the 

^ same manner as on the previous « days, and as before, they failed 

through the firmness of the German lines. 

In despair, Bourbaki commenced the retreat on the 18th of 

January, endeavouring to cover it by his artillery. This retreat 

was to lead to a terrible catastrophe. 
„ He had lost from 3000 to 4000 killed and wounded in front 

^ of the Lisaine positions, whilst the XIV. Corps had only suffered 

^ the loss of about 1500 men; the march towards the south-west 

was can*ied out, amid yet far greater losses. 

Not only did General von Werder begin the pursuit on the 

19th of January, but General von Manteuffel now appeared with 

the German Southern Army, in a veiy threatening manner upon 

the line of retreat of the French Army, which was so terribly 

weakened by cold, privation and defeat. 



In order to render assistance to General von Werder, the 
German Army Direction had arranged a concentration of the IL 
and VII. Army Corps at Ckdiillon^'sur-Seme. The first Corps 
came from Paris, the latter from Metz and the Luxemburg frontier. 
On the 12th of January the two Corps, in the strength of 56 
battalions, 20 squadrons and 168 guns, stood formed for battle 
upon the line Noyers — Nuits — Ravi^res — Gfi&tillon — Montigny; 
General von Manteuffel assumed the chief command on the same 
day, and, on the 13th of January, began a rapid advance in the 
direction of f^esouty in order, if possible, to establish a connec- 
tion with the XIV. Army Corps before Bourbaki's attack could 
take place. 


The inarch was mrasnally difficult on acconnt of tiie slippery 
ice, deep snow, cold and monntainoas conntry; yet on the 15th 
and 16th of January, the leading troops debouched from the chain 
of mountains of the Cote d'Or, at Selongey, Prauthoy and Lon- 
gean, and on the 19th of January, the main body of the aimy 
was united at Fontaine Frangaise (II. Corps) and Dnmpierre 
(VII. Corps), whilst the advanced guards had 'already crossed the 
Sadne at Gray and further up. Upon the outermost right wing, 
and to cover the right flank, Kettler's Brigade, of five battalions^ 
two squadrons and two batteries, drew near the town of Dijon^ 
where Garibaldi himself, with wonderful composure, held united 
about 30,000 men, which France had never needed more than 
just now. From this time until the end of Muiteuffers manceuvres, 
General Kettler kept the whole of Garibaldi's force in check. 
Upon the left wing. General von Manteu£fel had pushed forward 
a detachment of the VII. Corps by Luxeuil and St Loup, in 
order to seek connection with General von Werder. 

The whole great campaign, so rich in surprising strokes, in 
talented military ^combinations, and exciting situations, scarcely 
presents a moment of greater military interest than that shown in 
the mutual situation of the armies at the moment when Bourbaki 
made his last desperate attack against the Lisaine position. 

An army, still consisting of 120,000 men in the east, press- 
ing on furiously against the small chain ban'ier of Werder's 
Corps, in the vicinity of the German frontier; a second German 
army penetrating, by forced marches, the mountains of the C6te 
d'Or, in the most hazardous direction, for the French army, imagm- 
ing that Bourbaki was strongly covered in the rear at Dijon. 
Added to this the formation of the ground ; no way of escape for 
Bourbaki except by victoiy; behind him the table-land of Burgundy^ 
stretching in a great bend between mountains, his single road of 
retreat, and ManteuffeFs army already on the northern edge of 
this plateau. — A remarkable example, indicating the difference be- 
tween warriors and armed multitudes, between generals and leaders 
of adventure. 

General von Mantenffel had learnt, even at Fontaine-Fran^aise- 
Dampierre, that General von Werder had conquered; that the 


Belfort Siege Corps had taken up the attack upon Belfort afresh, 
and that Bourbaki was retiring. He immediately decided that an 
advance in the former direction towards the south-east; was no 
longer necessary^ but that the retreat of the French Army must 
now be cut off. 

Conformably to this, the Southern Army executed a wheel 
to the right on the 19th of January, and marched against the 
Doubs^ the VII. Corps upon Besan9on, the 11. Corps, by Pesmes, 
upon D61e, in order, in the first place, to interrupt the railroad 
communications here and at Villers-Farlay, towards the south. 

Thus General von Manteuffel hoped, at any rate, to find the 
French Eastern Army between the Sadne and the Jura, and to 
foi*ce it to fight with its rear against Switzerland or Alsace. It 
was a very bold undertaking, for the French possessed a double 
superiority in numbers; a condition of sti'ength which was cer- 
tainly favourable at the time of the contest against the republic. 

Garibaldi on the other hand attempted nothing, and probably 
he remarked nothing at all ; still he might easily have been able to 
cross and hinder the marches of the German southern army, by 
marching upon Auxonne and Be8an9on, so far as the distance was 
concerned. At that time he issued the well known proclamation 
to his troops which begins: ''Once more, yomig combatants for 
freedom, you have seen the heels of Kiqg William's formidable 

Several days still passed 'away, before it was exactly known 
on the German side, where Bourbaki was directing his retreat; 
the heads of the columns of all three Army Corps, amid repeated 
small encounters, retained close feeling with the main body of the 
French Army, which they, finally, found concentrated in the 
neighbourhood of Besan9on, whilst, simultaneously, all the ways of 
exit from the table-land of Burgundy, with the exception of that 
leading into Switzerland, were barred. 

On the 21st the II. Corps occupied D61e, destroyed the rail- 
road -and captured 230 loaded waggons. The VU. Corps, on the 
same day, marched dose past Besan^on and Wheeling to the south 
of the fortress, occupied Dampierre and there captured 30 loaded 
waggons. The passages across the Doubs were found undestroyed; 


at Quingey^ to the goath-soath-west of Besan^ODy the railway eom- 
munieation , from Besan^on, by Loiis le Sanlnier to Lyons, was 
interrnpted ; on the 23rd the 14th Division had a fight at Danne- 
marie y and confirmed the presence of the 20th French Corps, 
later, also, of the 15th and 18th French Corps, and an the 25th 
of January the road from Besan^on to Lyons ^ BourbakCs 
single line of retreat, was completely barred. 

On this day the VU. Corps was at St. Vit and Qaingej) 
and behind it, the II. Corps, upon the line Salins — Dole. 

At the same time the XIV. Corps drew near, towards the 
noith-west, against the French army standing at Besan^on. The 
immediate pursuit had, in the first instance, been made by Schme- 
ling's Division only; on the 25th of January it occupied Baume 
les Dames, on the Doubs, to the north-east of Besan^on. General 
von Debschfitz moved forward from Blamont, nearer to the Swiss 
frontier, in order, together with General von Schmeling, to operate 
against the road from Besan^n to Pontarlier. General von Werder, 
pushing to the right, with three brigades of his corps, had at 
the same moment reached the neighbourhood' of Rioz, due north 
of Besan^on, and relieved the detachments of the 14th Division, 
which had, until now, held possession of the passages across the 
Gignon at Voray, Etuz and Pin. 

Thus Bourbaki at Besanfon was surrounded by a circle, 
which was everytvhere closed except towards Switzerland , in 
the direction of Pontarlier. \ 

The unfortunate General , owing to France's unparalleled 
defeats in the battles at Metz, at which he had been present, 
and at the sight of the terrible misery of his army, now surrounded 
on all sides, had fallen into a condition of the deepest dejection. 
He saw the disgrace of a capitulation or of a retreat upon Swiss 
territory before his eyes, and he would not survive this inglorious 
end of the last French army. 

On the 24th of JaAuary, he gave up the chief command to 
General Clinch ant at Besanfon, and sent a bullet into his head — 
which, it is true, was not destined to put an end to his life. 

General Clinchant commenced the retreat of all the Corps, 
concentrated in the neighbourhood of the fortress, on the morning 


of the 26th , upon Pontarlier ; the Cavalry Division and aboat 
8000 Infantry, only, of the army liad got away, by Lons le 
Sauhiier, towards Lyons, before the German Southern Army had 
cut off this road. On the 28th of January this retreat was 
effected, and the French Army stood in the neighbourhood of Pon- 
tarlier on the Swiss frontier, fronting towards the north-west; the 
18th Corps on the right; the 15th Corps, at Sombacdurt and 
Chaffois, in the centre; the 20th Corps, upon the left wing, as 
far as Frasne, and lastly, the 24th ^Corps, which had arrived in 
the greatest confusion, as a reserve in rear of the centre. 

General von Manteuffel, who had now assumed the chief 
command of all three German Corps, made a surrounding approach, 
with the II. Army Corps by Nozeroy, the VII. Army Corps by 
Villeneuve, and Generals von Schmeiing and DebsohOtz, from the 
north, along the Swiss frontier. 

Garibaldi, too, who was still at Dijon, had not been forgotten; 
affcer the fight oA the 23rd, which had cost the 2nd battalion of 
the 61st Regiment its colour, in the night. General Hann 
von Weyhern was sent to the assistance of General von Keller, 
with Degenfeld's Baden Brigade, Ejiesebeck's Brigade and Willissen's 
Baden Cavalry Brigade; he advanced, on the 27th' of January, 
with his united forces, from Pesmes upon Dijon. 

Whilst the situation of the French forces in the east was so 
desperate a one, the Chancellor of the Confederation and Jules 
Favre were negotiating an armistice in Versailles, and in so doing 
a special convention was made with reference to the east, which 
is an evidence of the illusions of the French Government, and 
which was of great importance to the French Easteni Army. The 
Chancellor demanded, amongst other things, the surrender of the 
fortress of Belfort. As this might prejudice the question of the 
annexation of the whole of Alsace with the fortress — and Jules 
Favre was by no means disposed to give up Belfort, although, 
as a matter of course, the principle of a cession of territory, 
already formed the basis of the armistice negotiations, Jule^ Favre 
proposed thai in the east, the armistice should not come into 
effect. He must therefore have believed, up to the 28th of January, 
that Bourbaki would be able to relieve Belfort, or otherwise gain sue- 


ce88e& which would make it advantageous for France to carry on the 
war upon this stage. Count Bisiftarck had no reason for opposing 
this desire, and it was therefore established in the conveniiony 
that the military operations in the departments of the Cdte d'Or, 
Jura and Doubs^ and also the siege of Belfort should be con- 
tinued* Jules Fayre at once telegraphed the conclusion of the 
convention to Oambetta, but neglected to impart the special determi- 
nations mentioned ; and Gambetta, naturally, simply announced the 
conclusion of the armistice tf all the Generals of the republic; 
Count Bismarck, on the contrary, caused information to be sent to 
the German generals, of the article of exception as well. ' 

Thus misunderstandings were unavoidable. 

On the 29th of January Manteuffel made a concentric attack 
upon the advanced posts of the French Army. 

The VII. Corps, retainbg possession of Levier, pushed forward 
to the left, where it held the road from St. Gorgon to Pontarlier 
as well as that from Levier to Pontarlier ; the 11^ Corps approached 
from the south, by Frasne, whilst a detachment from it held 
possession of the mountain road at Les Planches; General 
von Schmeling and General von Debschfitz proceeded with their 
march against Pontarlier, along the frontier, and von der Goltz's 
Brigade (XIV. Army Corps) moyed upon Villeneuve from Arbois, 
by Pont d'H^ry, and so formed the reserve of the centre. 
General Clinehant, not being in a position to undertake anything, 
with his troops in their most wretched condition, remained stationary 
where he was; 

In the afternoon a combat ensued. The advanced guard of 
the 14th Division came upon the enemy at Sombacourt and Chaf- 
foisy stormed the villages, which were still tolerably obstinately 
defended, carried off 17 guns and 5000 prisoners, including two 
generals, and thr/Bw the adversary back upon Pontarlier. 

The following day, the II. Corps attacked Frasne^ captured 
above 3000 prisoners, occupied the place, and drove the French 
troops still further back. 

On this day, the 30th of January, General Clinehant, upon 
the strength of the armistice, now began to open negotiations. 
General von Manteuffel, ns may be imagined, could not agree to 


them, mid made a further advance; on the 3l8t, after a aharp 
fight at Fatiw^ he occupied the cross roads at Ste. Marie, in the 
mountains to the south of Pontarlier, and at mid -day, on the 
1st of Febniary, stood ready for the attack with the heads of his 
columns in front of Pontarlief. 

On the same morning, however, General Cliuchant had con- 
cluded a convention with the Swiss Commander ia Chief, General 
Herzog, in accordance with which, the French army was to cross 
over into Switzerland and there be disarmed. 

The retreat began even on the day of its conclusion, the 
1st of February, and only a rear -guard still covered the retreat 
upon French territory. Du TrosseFs Brigade came to an engagement 
with it in the afternoon, took Pontarlier, made 4000 prisoners 
and captured an enormous number of waggons with stores, arms 
and provisions. 

General von Manteuffel established his head - quarters in Pon- 
tarlier the same afternoon, whilst the French army moved into 
Switzerland by various mountain roads, the main body at Les 

Such a catastrophe was never before known. Switzerland 
received 85,000 men with 266 guns and about 10,000 horses, 
and provided for the masses of men, who had sufifered so miserably 
from cold and hunger, with that hospitable generosity, for which 
this high-minded republic has always been distinguished. About 
15,000 men had been taken prisoners in the retreating fights of 
the last few days ; only about 20,000 men altogether, had escaped 
towards the south, including Cremer's division. 

Garibaldi had also appealed to the armistice, when General 
Hann von Weyhern drew near, but then, as it was not recognised by 
the enemy, he escaped so quickly to the south, by the railway, 
that he could no longer be reached. 


Immediately after the victorious termination of the combats 
on the Lisaine, the regular siege of the fortress of Belfort was 


again taken np with renewed zeal^ and was also continued after 
tiie oondusion of the armistice, in conformity with Article I. of the 
Convention. From this the inference may be drawn as well 
as from the desire of the Chancellor of the Confederation, in 
opposition to Jules Favre, at Versailles (v. page 397), that the 
German government held the definitive acquisition of the fortress 
with that of Alsace to be very essential. 

The siege was associated with the greatest difficulties, for the 
trenches had, partly, to be blasted out of the rock, and the severe 
cold as well as the thaw which set in later, infinitely increased 
the difficulties of this work. Between the villages of Danjouim 
and Perouse — the latter was taken by storm in the night of the 
20th of January — the parallels yere opened against Forts 
Basses- Perches and Hanles - Perches ] the batteries were, by 
degrees, brought up to the works, and on the 8th of February 
the capture of both these forts was successfully carried out. 

But a very great work yet remained. It was necessary to 
force the fortress itself to surrender from the heights of the two 
forts and from the parallels connecting them. The citadel, howerer, 
as well as Fort La Justice could very well command the heights 
of the Perches. A cannon fight ensued, lasting for eight days, in 
which the Qermans came off conquerors, as they had done in efvery 
action since the beginning of the war. 

On the 16th of February the strong fortress capitulated, with 
12,000 men. In consideration of the garrison's brave defence, the 
German £mperor granted it a free departure. 


The convention of FersailleSy which was ratified on the 28th 
of January 1871; put an end to the military operations of the 
campaign 1870 — 71. The tenor of the convention is as follows: 


The following convention has heen concluded between Count von Bis- 
marck, Chancellor of the German confederation, in the name of His Majesty, 
the German Emperor, King of Prussia, and Monsieur Jules Favre, Minister 
of Foreign Affairs of the government of the National Defence, as authorized 
plenipotentiaries : 

Article 1. 

A general armistice upon the whole line of the military operations, in the 
act of being carried out by the German and French armies, begins on 
this day for Paris , and in three days for the departments. The duration 
of the armistice will be twenty-one days, commencing from this day, so 
that, excepting in the case of a renewal, the armistice will have expired, 
everywhere, at noon oft the 19th of February. 

The armies engaged in war will retain their respecti^ positions, and 
these will be separated by a line of demarcation. This line will commence 
from Pont I'Fv^que on the boundary of the Calvados department, will lead 
to Ligni^res in the north-east of the Mayenne department, passing between 
Briouze and Frommentel; touching the Mayenne department at Ligni^res, 
it will follow the boundary which divides this department from those of the 
Orne and the Sarthe, as far as the north of Morannes and will then be 
carried on to the point where the departments C6te d'Or, Ni^vre and Yonne 
meet together, on the east of Quar^ les Tombes, — so that the depart- 
ments Sarthe, Indre et Loire, Loire et Cher, Loiret and Yonne remain in 
possession of the Germans. From this point, the direction of the line is 



reserved for an agreement, which will take place wh»n the contracting par- 
ties h^re been informed as to the present position of operations in the de- 
partments Cote d'Or, Doubs and Jura. 

The departments Nord and Pas de Calais, the fortresses Givet and 
Langres with a radius of 10 kilometres (about 6V4 English miles) , and the 
peninsula of Havre as far as the line Etretat — St. Romain , will not be 
occupied on the German side. Both parties carrying on the war, and their 
outposts on both sides, are to keep at a distance of, at least, 10 kilometres 
from the line of demarcation. 

Each of the two armies reserves to itself, the right of maintaining its 
authority in the territory it occupies, and of employing such means as the 
commanders judge necessary for this end. 

The armistice applies equally to the naval powers of both countries, 
and here the meridian of Dunkirk will form as the line of demarcation. 
The French fleet will keep to the west of it, and the German men-of-war 
now in the 'western waters , will withdraw to the east of it as soon as they 
have been apprized thereof. The captures that may be made after the 
conclusion of the armistice and before its notification will be restored, as 
well as the prisoners made in the interval named. 

The operations upon the territory of the departments Doubs, Jura and 
Cdte d'Or as well as the siege of Belfort will be continued, independenty 
of the armistice, until such time as the still reserved settlement of the de- 
marcation line, in the departments named, shall have been supplementarily 
agreed upon. 

Article 2, 

The object of the armistice concluded in this manner, is to allow the 
government of the National Defence to call together a freely elected assembly 
who will have to decide the question as to whether the war is to be con- 
tinued, or upon what conditions peace shall be concluded. 

The assembly will meet in the town of Bordeaux. 

The commanders of the German Armies will render every assistance to 
the elections and meeting of the deputies. 

Abticle 3. 

All the outer forts round Paris, with their war material will be de- 
livered up to the German Army, by the French military authorities. The 
commonalties and the houses outside and between the forts, may be occupied 
by the German troops up to a line fixed by the military commissioners. 
The ground between this line and the enceinte of the city of Paris may 
not be set foot upon by armed men of either side. 



The form and mode of surrender of the forts, and the line mentioned 
will form the subject of an additional protocol to the present convention. 

Article 4. 

During the period of the armistice the German army will not enter 
the city of Paris. 

Article 5. 

The enceinte will be disarmed, and the carriages of the guns will be 
brought into the forts, appointed by a German commission. 

Article 6. 

The garrison (Army of the Line, Gardes Mobiles and Marine troops) 
of the forts and city will be prisoners of war, with the exception of a 
division of 12,000 men , which the military authorities retain in Paris for 
duty in the interior. 

The troops who are prisoners of war, lay down their arms, and these 
are collected and delivered up at appointed places, according to the custo- 
mary arrangements by commissioners. The troops remain in the city, the 
enceinte of which they are not allowed to pass during the armistice. The 
French authorities %i«st use vigilance, that each individual of the army and 
Garde Mobile remains consigned to the interior of the city. 

The officers of the troops, who are prisoners of war, will be specified 
in a list, which will be delivered to the German authorities. 

At the expiration of the armistice , all -the military , belonging to th» 
army consigned to Paris, must present themselves as prisoners of war to 
the German army, in case peace is not previously concluded. 

The officers, who are prisoners of war, retain their arms. 

Article 7. 

The Garde Nationale retains its arms, and is entrusted with the protection 
I ^ of Paris and the maintenance of order. This equally applies to the Gen- 

e* darmerie and troops employed in a similar manner to them in the municipal 

i^- service, as the Republican Guard, Douaniers and Pompiers; this category 

i$> amounts, altogether to only 3600 men. All the corps of the Franc-tireurs 

iif will be disbanded by command of the French government. 



Article 8. 

Immediately after the ratification of the present conditions, and previous 
to the occupation of the forts, the Commander in Chief of the German 
armies will facilitate the task of the commissioners, who will be sent by the 
French government both into the departments and to foreign countries, 
to make arrangements for the re-provisioning of Paris, and to bring up the 
stores destined for the city. 

Article 9. 

After the surrender of the forts , and the disarmament of the enceinte 
and of the garrison, in accordance with Articles 6 and 6, the re-provisioning ! 
of Paris will proceed unimpeded, by the railways and water communications. 

Stores destined for this re-provisioning, are not to be taken out of the 
districts occupied by the German troops , and the French government binds 
itself to procure them outside the line of demarcation which snrronnds the 
German armies, unless the commander of the latter grants permission. 

Article 10. 

Every-one who wishes to leave Paris, must be provided with a regularly 
drawn-up permit, by the military authorities, which is subjected to the 
vis^ of the German out-posts. These permits and vis^ will be forwarded 
as of right, to the candidates of the Provincial Deputation and the deputies 
of the' National Assembly. 

The persons provided with the permissions mentioned are only allowed 
«to pass out between 6 o'clock a. m. and 6 o'clock p. m. 

Article 11. 

The city of Paris pays a contribution of 200 million francs. The 
payment must be made before the fifteenth day of the armistice. The mode 
of payment will be fixed by a mixed French and German commission. 

Article 12. 

During the armistice, nothing of public talue may be removed, which 
might servfe as a pledge to cover the contributions. 


Article 13. 

Daring the armistice, the importation of arms, ammunition and material 
for their fabrication, is forbidden. 

Article 14. 

The exchange of all prisoners of war made, on the side of the French, 
since the commencement of the war, will be proceeded with without delay. 
For this object the French authorities will, as soon as possible, deliver 
special lists of the German prisoners of war to the German military authori- 
ties at Amiens, Le Mans, Orleans and Vesoul. The German prisoners of 
war will be set at liberty as near the frontier as possible. The German 
authorities will, on the other hand , give up to the French authorities , in 
the same manner and as soon as possible, an equal number of French 
prisoners of war, of corresponding rank. 

The exchange refers also to prisoners in civil positions, such as the 
captains of German merchant vessels and French civilians interned in 

Article 15. 

A postal service for unclosed letters between Paris and the departments, 
will be regulated through the head-quarters in Versailles. 

In ratification of the present convention , it is provided with the signa- 
tures and seals of the undersigned. 

Versa^es, the 28th of January 1871. 

Biimarok. Favre. 

The tenor of the protocol appended to the convention, men- 
tioned in article 3 of the convention, is as follows: 

Addition to ike convention of the 2Sih of January 1871. 

Article 1. 

Boundary line before Paris. — On the French side the boundary line 
will be formed by the cincture wall of the city. On the German side (v. 
map I. of Paris) : 

1) Up<m the south front , the line runs from the Seine to the northern 
point of the island of St. Germain, along the conduit of Issy, then between 
the cincture wall and Forts Issy, Vanvres, Montronge, Bic^tre and Ivry, 
keeping at a distance of about 600 metres from the fronts of the forts, up 
to the spot where the road from Paris separates towards Port*k-r Anglais 
and Alfort. 


2) Upon the east fronts from the last mentioned point, the line croMes 
the junction of the Marne and Seine, then passes along the western and 
northern boundaries of the Tillage of Charenton, so as to reach the gate 
of Fontenay just above the Place de I'Obelisque. From this it runs in a 
northerly direction, to 500 metres west of Fort Rosny, and to the south of 
Forts Noisy and Romainville, to the spot where the Pantin road strikes the 
Ourcq canal. 

The garrison of the ch&tean of Vincennes consists of one company 
of 200 men, and will not be relieved during the armistice. 

3) Upon the north front, it continues to a point 500 metres south- 
west of Fort Aubervillers , then running by the southern border of the 
village of Aubervillers and along the St. Denis canal , crosses the latter 
500 metres to the south of its bend, and remains, equi-distant to the south 
of the canal bridge running in a straight line, as far as the Seine. 

4) Upon the west front, it continues, from the spot where the indicate^ 
line reaches the Seine, upon the left bank up the river as far as the conduit 
of Issy. 

Small deviations from this boundary line are permitted to the German 
troops, in so far as they should be necessary in the position of the out-posts, 
for the security of the army. 

Abticle 2. 

Passage through the boundary line. — Persons who have been granted 
permission to pass the German out-posts, may do so only by the following 
roads : the roads to Calais, Lille, Metz, Strasburg (gate of Fontenay), Basle, 
Antibes, Toulouse, and road 189 and lastly by the bridges over the Seine, 
including the one at Sevres, the reconstruction of which is permitted. 

Article 3. 

Surrender of the forts and earth-works. — This surrender will take 
place on the 29th of January , commencing at 10 o'clock a. m. and in the 
following manner: 

The French troops will withdraw from the forts and neutral ground; 
in each fort will remain, merely, the Commandant, the Superintendent of 
Engineers and Artillery, and the gate-keeper. 

As soon as a fort has been evacuated, a French staff officer will come 
to the German out-posts, in order to give any explanations that may be 
desired about the fort, as well as to show the way leading to it. After 
taking possession of each single fort, and after the necessary explanations 
have been given, the fortress commandant, the superintendents of Engineers 
and Artillery, with the gate-keeper will repair to Paris to the garrison of 
the forts. 

Article 4. 

Surrender of arms and war material. — The rifles, field guns, colours 
and all the war material will be given up to the German authorities within 
fourteen days, reckoning from the ratification of the present agreement, 
and will be brought together in Sdvran, through the instrumentality of the 
French authorities. An inventory of the arms and war material, will be 
handed over, by the French authorities to the German authorities, before 
the 4th of February. 

The carriages of the cannon upon the ramparts must likewise be re- 
moved before the above named time. 

On the 15th of February, moreover, the Convention on the 
surrender of Belfort and the continuation of the line of demar- 
cation, succeeded the Convention of the 28th of January in the 
following terms: 

Article 1. 

The fortress of Belfort will be given up to the commandant of the 
besieging army,- with the war material which belotigs to the place. 

The garrison of Belfort will leave the place with the honours of war, 
and retain their arms , their means of transport , and the war material be- 
longing to the troops, as well as the military archives. The commandants 
of Belfort and of the besieging army, will place themselves in communi- 
cation respecting the execution of the above stipulations, as well as con- 
cerning details which have nt)t been foreseen, and in regard to the direction 
and roads by which the garrison of Belfort will join the French army on 
the other side of the line of demarcation. 

Article. 2. 

The German prisoners in Belfort will be released. 

Article 3. 

The line of demarcation , ' fixed as far as the point where the three 
departments of Yonne, Nievre and Cdte d'Or come in contact, will be 
continued along the southern boundary of the department of the Cdte d'Or 
to the points where the railroad , which runs from Nevers by Autun and 
Chagny to Ch&lons-sur-Sadne, crosses the frontier of the department named. 
This railroad remains outside the German occupation , so that the line of 


demarcation , which is drawn at the distance of one kilometre from the 
railroad, reaches the southern boundary of the Cote d*Or department to the 
east of Chagny and follows the boundary which divides the Sadne et Loire 
department from the departments of the Cote d'Or and Jura. After following 
the road from Louhans to Lons le Saulnier it will leave the department 
boundary upon the height of the village of Malleret, from whence it will 
run on so as to intersect the railroad from Lons le Sanlnier to Bonrg at 
a distance of eleven kilometres to the south of Lons le Saulnier, whiUt 
from there it is directed by the bridges of the Ain upon the Clairvaux road, 
whence it will follow the northern boundary of the arrondissement of St. 
Claude as far as the Swiss frontier. 

Article 4. 

A radius of ten kilometres will be kept, for the use of the garrison, 
round the fortress of Besanyon. The fortified place, Auxonne, will be sur: 
rounded by three kilometres of neutral territory, in which there will be free 
circulation upon the railroad , leading from Dijon to Gray and Ddle , for 
the military trains and those of the administration. The commandants of 
the *troops on both sides, will regulate the re-provisioning of the two 
fortresses and the forts which are in possession of the French troops, in the 
departments of the Doubs and Jura, as well as the boundaries of the radii 
of these forts, each of which will have three kilometres. The circulation by 
the railroad and country roads, whith pass through these radii, will be free. 

Abticle 5. 

The three departments. Jura, Doubs and CiXte d'Or, will now be included 
in the armistice, ratified on the 28th of January, and the whole of the 
stipulations made in the convention of the 28th of January with respect to the 
duration of the armistice as well as to the other conditions , will apply to 

Versailles^ the 15th of February 1871. 

Jnlei Vavro. ▼. Bismarok. 

The conditions of the convention were carried out without 

The German Army Direction in consequence attained such 
an auspicious military situation, that a continuation of the war, on 
the part of France, could indeed no longer be attempted. 

It is true that there were still French armies in existence. 


At the conclusion of the convention General Ohanzy ought to have 
had 120,000 men, General Faidherbe 60,000 and General Loysel 
at HS,vre 30,000 men, whilst there should have been 250,000 men 
in the different camps of instruction. These forces, however, 
existed only on paper. Of troops fit for battle, Francie probably 
possessed only about 50,000, and these were demoralized. On 
the German side, on the other hand, there were 800,000 German 
soldiers extending from the French — Swiss frontier as far as the 
southern corner of Touraine, and up to the Atlantic ocean, in 
possession of nearly all the foi*tresses and important positions of 
northern and midland France, and also, by the occupation of the 
forts of. Paris, commanding, in fact, the capital itself. 

The whole number of French prisoners provided for in Ger- 
man depots and places of internment, now amounted to 11,860 
officers and 371,881 men, added to which all the soldiers of the 
army of Paris were prisoners of war, with the exception of the 
Garde Natiouale in the city itself, so that the number of the 
prisoners of war almost reached the strength of the German armies. 
The resumption of hostilities must have appeared impossible even 
to the most extravagant members of the French Government. 

The naval warfare had been devoid of any important encounter, 
being confined solely to the injury of commerce, and remained 
quite without any consequence, which, at the conclusion of peace, 
could have weighed in favour of France. 

Seldom perhaps has a state been so completely overthrown, 
and its military power so crushed to its last members, as France 
was now cast down and shattered, by the mistaken and criminal 
continuation of this war, which was begun so thoroughly unpoliti- 
cally and most wantonly. 

Thus then, the annistice became the introduction to peace. 

The National Assembly which met in Bordeaux on the 12th of 
February pronounced for peace, and on the 26th of February 1871, 
after the armistice had been twice prolonged, the preliminaries 
of peace were concluded at Versailles j which was followed by the 
definitive conclusion of peace, at Frankfort, on the 10th of 
May 1871. • 

Calender of the Campaign. 

Summary of the events of the war in chronological order. 

July 1870. 

15« The demand for credit by the French government for the war is sanc- 
tioned (Page 15). The troops in the camp of Ch&lons, and detach- 
ments elsewhere ready for war are directed against the Germi^n frontier 
(P. 15). The King of Prussia orders the mobilization of his army 
(P. 16). 

16. Mobilization of the Bavarian and Baden armies. The German frontier 
is occupied by detachments for demonstration (P. 19). 

17* Mobilization of the Wurtemberg Army. 

19. France declares war against Prussia (P. 15). 
19-30. Skirmishes on the frontier (P. 49). 

2* The King takes the chief command in Mayence (P. 52). The Emperor 
Napoleon attacks Saarbriicken (P. 50). 

4* Assault of the position of Weissenburg occupied by Douay's Division 
by the III. German army (P. 5S). 

6. Battle of Woerth in which the French right wing under command of 
Marshal Mac Mahon is beaten by the Crown Prince of Prussia — 
Battle of Saarbriicken (height of Speichern) where the French left 
wing, Frossard's Corps is beaten by the leading troops of the I. army, 
and detachments of the III. Army Corps. The French Army commences 
its retreat (P. 58-84). 

7* Paris is declared in a state of siege. Decree for the Garde Mobile 
and Garde Nationale (P. 85). 
7-14* Advance of the German I. and II. armies to Metz, and of the III. Army 
to Nancy (P. 85). 

8, Baden cavalry arrive before Strasburg (P. 87). 

9. Liitzelstein occupied (P. 86). 
10* Lichtenberg occupied (P. 86). 

12« Marshal Bazaine receives the chief command of the Army of Metz (P. 92). 

13. The King in Herny, Prince Frederick Charles in Pont-k-Mousson (P. 89). 

14. Bombardment of Pfalzbarg by the VI. Corps (P. 242). Battle of 
Courcelles in which the retiring French Army is held fast by the I. 
Army on the right bank of the Moselle (P. 92-98). Reconnaissance 
against Tonl (P. 90). General von Werder, Commandant before 
Strasburg (P. 89). Napoleon leaves Metz (P. 96). 

].5t Marsal capitulates (P. 90). 


16. Battle of Vionville. The III. Army Corps, gradually reinJTorced stops 

Bazaine's departure to Verdun (P. 99-117). 
18* Battle of Gravelotte. The I. and II. Armies, under the command of 

the King, force Bazaine to retire upon Metz (P. 118-142). Kehl is set 

on fire by cannon from Strasburg (P. 229). 
19* The III. Army begins the passage across the Meuse (P. 143). 
21. Mac Mahon's Army leaves Ch&lons for Bheims (P. 148). 
22» « The IV. Army (newly formed) commences the advance against Ch&- 

lons (P. 144). 
23* Unsuccessful attack upon Verdun by the IV. Army (P. 144). Mac 

Mahon moves off from Bheims (P. 160); 
24« Mac Mahon in Bethel (P. 150). The bombardment of Strasburg be- 
gins (P. 230). 
25. The III. Army takes Vitry le Fran9ais (P. 151). In the night, the 

German Armies receive orders to wheel to the right (P. 151). 

27. Mac Mahon in Chgne-populenx (P. 150). Fight ofBusancy (P. 151). 

28. Mac Mahon in Stonne (P. 152). 

29. Fight at Nonart (P. 154). In the night, the first parallel before Stras- 
burg is opened (P. 232). 

30. Engagement at Beaumont (P. 155). 

31. The surrounding advance by the Germans against Sedan (P. 158). 
Bazaine's sortie against Prince Frederick Charles's Army, Battle of 
Noisseville which lasts till midday on the Ist of September (P. 204-218). 


1. Battle of Sedan. The French army is thrown back into the fortress, 
and inclosed all round by the III. and IV. armies (P. 165-173). 

2. Capitulation of Sedan (P. 175). 

5. The royal head-quarters in Rheims (P. 283). 
9« Laon occupied. The citadel is blown up (P. 284). 
12. The Grand Duke of Mecklenburg invests Toul (P. 250). 
14, The royal head-quarters in Chateau-Thierry (P. 283). 
15* The royal head-quarters in Meaux (P. 283). 
19* Fight at Petit-Bicestre. The V. and II. Bavarian corps repulse General 

Vinoy's sortie (P. 286). 

Completion of the investment of Paris (P. 284). Commencement of 

negotiations between the Chancellor and J. Favre. Royal head-quarters 

in Ferriferes (P. 270 and 289). 
23. Capitulation of Toul (P. 251). 

Combat at Villejuif to the south of Paris, sortie against the VI. Corps 

(P. 289). 
28. Capitulation of Strasburg (P. 236). 
30* General Vinoy's sortie against the VI. Corps (P. 289). 


2* Bazaine's sortie against Kummer's Division (P. 222). 
*4« CoI(Aiel von Alvensleben beats the French troops at the wood of St. 
Hilaire and occupies Epemon (P. 291). Prince Albert of Prussia re- 
connoitres from Toury towards Orleans and notes the French Loire 
Army (P. 291). 

5. General von Degenfeld's fight at Raon TEtape (P. 369). Fight of the 5th 
Cavalry Brigade at Pacy to the west of Paris (P. 290). 

7. General von der Tann marches off from Paris towards the south (P. 292), 
Bazaine*8 sortie against Rummer's Division (P. 222). 

9. Gambetta's arrival in Tours (P. 292). 


9. loTestment of Neu-Breisach (P. 240). 
11. General von der Tann occupies Orleans (P. 326). 
12* Commencement of the bombardment of Soissons (P. 262). 

General von Werder in £pinal (P. 370). 
13* General Vinoy'H sortie against Clamart, Chatillon , and Bagneux 

(P. 293). 

St. Cloud is set on Hre by the cannonade of the French (P. 294). 
15* Capitulation of Soissons (P. 262). 
19* Beginning of the bombardment of Schlettstadt (P. 239). 

Combat round Chateaudun (P. 326). 
20. General von Werder in Vesoul (P. 370). 
2J. Sortie against the V. Army Corps (P. 294). 
22. Fight on the Oignon, at EtuK and Cussey. General von Werder beats 

the French south-eastern army (P. 371). 
24. Capitulation of the fortress of Schlettstadt (P. 239). 

General von Werder at Gray (P. 372). 
27. Capitulation of Mete (P. 296). 
28« The French take the village of Le Bourget to the north of Paris 

(P. 296). 
30. The 2nd Garde-Infantry Division re-take Le Bourget (P. 296). 

Thiers negotiates in Versailles (P. 297). 
31* General von Werder occupies Dijon (P. 374). 


2* Beginning of the bombardment of Neu-Breisach and Fort Mortier 

(P. 240). 
3. The investment of Belfort begun (P. 381). 
6. The armistice negotiations are broken off (P. 298). 
?• Fort Mortier capitulates (P. 241). 

General von Manteufi'el marches from Metz (P. 362). 
8. Capitulation of Verdun (P. 264). 

General von der Tann evacuates Orleans (P. 327). 
9« Fight at Coulmiers between General von der Tann and General 
d'Aurelle de Paladines (P. 327). 
10, Neu-Breisach capitulates (P. 241). 
!!• . The Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin takes the command against 

d'Aurelle (P. 331). 
15. The Grand Duke marches to the west (P. 331). 

17. Fight of the 17th Division at Dreux (P. 331). 

18. Fight of the 22nd Division at Chateauneuf (P. 331). 

21. The 22nd Division occupies La Loupe (P. 331). 
General von Manteuffel occupies Ham (P. 353). 

22. The Grand Duke occupies Nogent le Rotrou (P. 332). 
The bombardment of Thionville begun (P. 246). 

23. Completion of the investment of Belfort (P. 383). 

24. Manteuffel's advanced guard fights at Quesnel and Mezieres (P. 353). 
Thionville capitulates (P. 246). « 

The Grand Duke reaches La Ferte Bernard (P. 332). 

Fights of the X. Army Corps against the right wing of the French 

Loire Army at Ladon, Maizicres, and Bois commun (P. 334). 

26. Capitulation of La Fere (P. 255). 

27. Battle of Amiens. General von Manteuffel beats General Farre (P. 353). 
23. The Parisians occupy Mont Avron (P. 300). 

Engagement at Beanne La Bolande; the X. Army Corps repulses the 
attack of \he French 18th and 20th Corps (P. 336). 


General von Mantenffel occupies Amiens (P. 366). 
29* Sortie by the Parisians against the positions of the VI. Armv Corps 
(P. 301). # 

30. Great sortie by the Parisians against the south-east front (P. 301 f.). 
Brie and Champigny remain in possession of the French. 


!• The Parisians strengthen themselves at Brie and Champigny (P. 304). 

General von Manteuffel commences the march upon Rouen (P. 356). 
2« The Saxons and Wurtembergers , supported by the II. and VI. Army 

Corps fight round Brie and Champigny (P. 306). 

Beginning of the combat at Orleans between Prince Frederick Charles 

and General d'Aurelle. Fight at Orgbres, Patay, Poupry, Loigny 

(P. 337). 
3« The ^Parisians retire upon the right bank of the Marne (P. 307). 

Combats at Chevilly and Chilleurs near Orleans (P. 339). 

The bombardment of Belfort begun (P. 383). 
4« Combats at Cercottes and GiBy. Retreat of the French in two se- 
parate bodies (P. 340). 
5« Prince Frederick Charles occupies Orleans (P, 340). 
6« General von Manteuffel occupies Rouen (P. 357). 
8« Engagement at Beaugency. The Grand Duke beats General Chanzy 

(P. 341). 
9. The Grand Duke occupies Bou valet and Cernay (P. 342). 

Occupation of Dieppe by one of Manteuffel's detachments (P. 367). 
10. General Chanzy is forced to retreat upon Venddme (P. 342). 

12. Pfalzburg capitulates (P. 244). 

The bombardment of Montmedy begun (P. 247). 

13. Prince Frederick Charles's march against Vendome (P. 342). 
Montmedy capitulates (P. 247). 

15* {Engagement on the Loir between Prince Frederick Charles and Ge- 
neral Chanzy (P. 342). 

16. Prince Frederick Charles occupies Vendome (P. 343). 

IS. Fight at Nuits. The Baden Division beats the French under Cremer 
(P. 378). 

19. Prince Frederick Charles takes up a position of observation at Orleans 
(P. 343). 

21* Sortie by the Parisians against the Garde-Corps and the Saxons (P. 309). 

23« Battle on the Hallue. General von Manteuffel beats General Faidherbe 
(P. 359). 

27* Commencement of the artillery attack upon Paris. Bombardment of 
Mont Avron (P. 310). 

Combats at Montoire and La Chartre in the neighbourhood of Ven- 
dome (P. 344). 

28. Combat at Longprd (Northern Army^ (P. 361). 

29* Occupation of Mont Avron by the Saxons (P. 311). , 

30« Combat at Souchez (Northern Army) (P. 361). 

31. Combat of the 20th Division at Venddme (P. 344). 

The castle Robert le Diable in Normandy is stormed (P. 362). 

January 1871. 

2« M^ci^res capitulates (P. 248). 

The bombardment of P^ronne begun (P. 266). 
2-3. Combats at Bapaume. Faidherbe's attacks repulsed by General von 
Goben (P. 362). 



4* General von Bentheim icatters the French troops upon the left bank 

of the Seine near Ronen (P. 864). 
6. The Bonthem at|ack upon Paris begun. Bombardment of the sonthern 

forts (P. 312). 

Rocroy taken by a conp de main (P. 249). 

The advance upon Le Mans beg^n (P. 344). 
6-lS* Combats against General Chanzy, which end with his complete defeat, 

and the occupation of Le Mans (P. 345). 
8. The bombardment of the city of Paris begun (P. 316). 
9« Engagement at Villersexel. General von Werder stops Bourbaki's 

march by a flank attack (P. 887). 

Capitulation of P^ronne (P. 256). 
10* Sortie by the Parisians against Clamart (P. 817). 
13. Sortie by the Parisians against Meudon and Clamart as well as against 

Le Bonrget (P. 317). 
14* The camp of Conlie near Le Mans is found forsaken (P. 360). 
16-1 7* Battle of Belfort. Bourbaki's repeated attacks upon General von 

Werder's position on the Lisaine are beaten back (P. 388). 
!ۥ The bombardment of Longwy begun (P. 248). 
19* Great sortie by the Parisians against Versailles (P. 317). 

General von Hartmann occupies Tours (P. 361). 

Battle of St. Qnentin. General von Goben beats General Faidherbe 

(P. 364). 
21, The bombardment of St. Denis begun (P. 319). 
23« Commencement of the armistice-negotiations (P. 320). ' 

26. Longwy capitulates (P. 248). 

26-27. At 12 o'clock at night firing at Paris ceases (P. 320). 
28* Conclusion of the convention of Versailles, which includes the capi- 
tulation of Paris (P. 321). 
29* Fights at Sombacourt and Chaffois. Manteuffel beats the advanced troops 

of the French eastern army (P. 398). 
SO* Fight at Frasne. The French .eastern army is forced still nearer to 

the Swiss frontier (P. 398). 
31. General von Manteuffel occupies Ste. Marie. Fight at Vaux (P. 399). 


1. Fight at Pontarlier with the eastern army retreating into Switzerland 
(P. 399). 
16. Fall of Belfort (P. 400). 



Ablis, surprise of 291. 

Achiet, fight at 362. 

Albert, Crown Princei v. Saxony. 

Albert, Prince of Pmssia, t. Loire 

Army 291. 
Alvensleben I, General von, v. Sedan 

and Paris. 
Alvensleben n, Qeneral von, v. Vion- 

ville, Gravelotte, Investment of 

Metz, Loire Army. 
Amanvillers, v. Gravelotte 188. 
Amiens, battle of 368. 
Anonld, fight at 370. 
Armistice, conclusion of 320. Tenor of 

it, V. convention of Versailles 401. 
Artenay, fight at 388. 
Aubigpy, v. Noisseville 209. 
Aurelle de Paladines, General d', v. 

Loire Army. His advance' against 

Orleans 326. Plan for a march 

upon Paris 333. 
Auxonne, march upon 375. 
Avron, Mont 310. 


Bagneux, sortie fight at 298. 

Bapanme, combats at 862. 

Bar le Due, head-quarters of the King, 
23rd of August 146. 

Bavilliers, v. Belfort 388. 

Bazaine, Marshal, takes the com- 
mand 92, conduct after Vionville 
118, during Noisseville 220, comp. 
Meta 197. 

Baseilles, combatronnd, v. Sedan 167. 

Bazoches, fight at 888. 

Beaucourt, v. Hallne 368. 

Beaugency, engagement at 841. 

Beaumont, engagement at 166. 

BeaunelaRolande, engagement at 336. 
Belfort, fortress 83, Investment of 

381, Battle of 388, Fall of 400. 
Bellegarde, Fight at 336. 
Bellevue, interview at 176. 
Bentheim, General von, v. Courcelles 

and northern army. 
Be8an9on, v. southern army 368, 370, 

386, 396. 
Bessoncourt, sortie at 383. 
B^thoncourt, fight at 390. 
Beyer, General von, v. Strasburg 

87, Southern army 374. 
Bi^vre, sortie fight at 286. 
Bismarck, interview with Napoleon 

174, negotiations with Favre 270, 

289 and 320. 
Bitsch, fortress 86. 
Blois 341. 

Bois commun, fight at 334. 
Bois de la Cusse, v. Gravelotte 131. 
Bois des Geniveaux, v. Gravelotte 132. 
Bombardment of Paris 271, 312, of 

Strasburg 228. 
Boncourt, v. Nuits 379. 
Bonneuil, sortie fight at 304. 
Bomy, V. Courcelles 92 (the French 

call the battle of Courcelles, the 

battle of Bomy.) 
Bose, General von, v. Woerth. 
Boulay, fight at 326. 
Bourbaki, v. Vionville, northern ar- 
my 362, south-eastern army 886. 
Bourg, sortie fight at 287. 
Bourges, pursuit after 343. 
Bourget, Le 296. 
Bouvalet, fight at 842. 
Brandenburg, count, v. Vionville 109. 
Breisach, Neu- 240. 
Breteuil, encounter at 862. 
Brevannes, sortie fight at 802. 
Briare, pursuit to 848. 

41 n 

Brie, sortie fight at 306. 
Bronssrt, Lieutenant Colonel 173. 
Bronvelliers, fight at 370. 
Bnddenbrock, General von, v. Vion- 

ville, Loire Army. 
Bueancy, cavalry fight at 150, 151. 
Bussnrel, fight at 390. 
Bazenval, sortie against 317. 


Cambriels, General, v. south-eastern 

army 370. 
Camps , for the instruction of the 

French armies 328. 
Canrobert, Marshal, v. Vionville, 

Noisseville 213. 
Carignan 158. 

Castres, v. St. Quentin 365. 
Cercottes, fight at 340. 
Cernay, fight at 342. 
Chaffois, fight at 398. 
Ch&lons, army of 81, 145. 
Champcnois, v. Gravelotte 136. 
Champigny 304, 306. 
Chantrenne, v. Gravelotte 132. 
Chartres 290, 325. 
Chateaudun, destruction of 325. 
Chateanneuf, taking of 331. 
Chateau-Thierry , head-quarters of 

the King 283. 
Chatillon, sortie fight at 293. 
Chatillon-sur-Seine 377, 393. 
Ch^hery 161. 
Chenebier, fight at 391. 
Chene-populeux 150. 
Chevilly, sortie fight at 289 (Paris.) 
Chevilly, fight at 339. (Orle'ans.) 
Chilleurs, fight at 339. 
Choisy-le-Roi, sortie fight at 289, 301. 
Clamart, sortie fight at 293, 317. 
Clermont 152. 

Cocuilly, sortie fight at 302. 
Colombey, v. Courcelles 92. (The 

battle of Courcelles is also called 

the engagement at Colombey; v. 

Noisseville 208.) 
Conlie, camp of 350. 
Corbie, v. Amiens and Hallue 358. 
Courcelles, battle of 92 f. 
Coulmiers, engagement of 327. 
Cremer, v. south-eastern array 378. 
Croix near Delle 387. 
Cussey, fight at 371. 


Daigny, v. Sedan 166. 

Danjoutin, v. Belfort 384. 
Dannemarie, fight at 396. 
Daours, v. Hallue 359. 
Debschutz, detachment 375. 
Declaration of war 15. 
Degenfeld, General von 369. 
Diedenhofen, v. Thionville 244. 
Dieppe, occupation of 357. 
Dijon, occupation of 374. 
Division , of the French Loire Armv 

Donch^ry, v. Sedan 165. 
Douay, Abel, General, v. Weissen- 

Douay, Felix, General 83, 147. 
Doubs 395. 

Drancy, sortie fight at 309. 
Dreux, fight at 331. 
Ducrot, General, v. Sedan and Paris. 
Dugny, sortie fight at 309. 


Elsashausen, v. Woerth 68. 
Epernon occupied 291. 
Epinai-les-St. Denis 310. Gambetta's 

error respecting it 305. 
Epinal occupied 370. 
Etivat, fight at 369. 
Etuz, fight at 371. 
Evreux, reconnaissance at 290. 

Faidhcrbe, General, v. northern ar- 

Failly, General de, retreat after 
Woerth 82. 

Farre, General 352. 

Favre, Jules, interview with Bis- 
marck 270, 289, 320. 

Fenay, fight at 379. 

Ferrieres, head-quarters of the King 
283, 289. 

Flanville, v. Noisseville 211, 217. 

Flavigny, fight at, v. Vionville 108. 

Floing, V. Sedan 166. 

Forbach, retreat upon 76. 

Frahier. fight at 391. 

Francs-tireurs 190. 

Fransecky, General von, arrival at 
Gravelotte 139, fight round Brie 
and Champigny 307. 

Frasne, fight at 398. 

Er^chencourt, v. Hallue 859. 

Fresnois, v. Sedan 166. 


Frederick Charles, Prince of Prassia, 
V. Vionville, Gravelotte, Noisse- 
ville, Metz, Loire Army 

Froschweiler, v. Woerth 69. 

Frossard, General, attack apon Saar- 
briicken 2nd of August 50, engage- 
ment at SaarbrUcken 6th of August 
71, retreat 77, v. Vionville, Noisse- 


Gambetta 184, 327, v. Loire army. 

Trochu's opinion of him 269. 
Garches, sortie against 317. 
Garde Mobile 86, 189. 
Garde Nationale 85, 190. 
Garibaldi, t. South-eastern army 376, 

Gauchy, v. St. Quentin 365. 
Geisberg at Weissenburg 56. 
Gentelles, fight at 354. 
Gersweiler, skirmish at 49. 
Gidy, fight at 340. 
Gien, pursuit to 341. 
Givonne, v. Sedan 166. 
Gliimer, General von, v. South-eastern 

army 378. 
Goben, (General von, v. Saarbriicken, 

Rouen, Bapaume, St. Quentin. 
Gdrsdorf, v. Woerth 67. 
Gravelotte, battle of 118—142. 
Gray, March upon 372. 
Gunstett, v. Woerth 64. 


Habonville, v. Gravelotte 133. 
Hagenau, reconnaissance of 50. 
Hallue, battle on the 359. 
Ham, occupation of 353; re-taken 

by the French 358. 
Hartmann, Baron von. General, v. 

Weissenburg , Woerth , Sedan, 

Hartmann, Lieutenant general, v. 

Metx, Loire Army. 
H^ricourt, fight at 390. 
Hemy, castle, royal head-quarters 


Illy, V. Sedan, battle of 169. 
Interview of the King of Prussia with 

Napoleon 176, Napoleon's with 

Bismarck 174, Bismarck's with 

Favre 270, 289, 320. 


Jarny, v. Gravelotte, battle of* 


Javy, V. St. Quentin 365. 
Jussy, V. Gravelotte 129. 


Kaninchenberg 77. 

Kehl, bombardment of the town 229. 

Kirchbach, General von, v. Woerth, 

Sedan, Paris. 
King William of Prussia joins the 

army 52. Interyiew with Napoleon 

176. Also V. Metz, Sedan, 

Kraatz-Koschlau , General von , v. 

Vionville 113, Loire Army. 
Kummer, General von, v. Noisseville, 

Metz (Kummer's Division) 222. 


La Chartre, fight at 344. 
La Croix, fight at 349. 
Ladmirault, General, v. Vionville, 

Ladon, fight at 335. 
La F^re, fortress 254. 
La Fertd Bernard 332, v. Le Mans. 
Lagny, station of 313. 
La Loupe, capture of 331. 
Lamotterouge, v. Motterouge. 
Langres, fortified place 377. 
Laon, explosion of the citadel of 284. 
Leboeuf, Marshal 92, v. Vionville, 

LeBourget, sortie fights at 289, 294, 
Legions 190. 

Le Groslay, sortie fight at 309. 
Lehmann, detachment of Colonel 107. 
Le Mans, advance upon 344, Crisis 

at 348—351. 
Les Errnes, fight at 381. 
L'Hay, sortie fight at 301. 
Lichtenberg, fortified place 86. 
Lisaine, battle on the, v. Belfort 

Loigny, fight at 338. 
Loir, fights on the 342, 344. 
Loire armies, operations of the 323 

Longeau, combat at 877. 
Longpr^, V. Hallue 361. 
Longwy, fortress 248. 
Lorraine, table land of 80. 
Liitzelstein, fortified place 86. 
Lynker, detachment of Colonel, v. 

Vionville 107. 


Mac Mahon, Marshal, t. Weissenbnrg, 
Woerth, Sedan. 

Mairy 160. 

Maizieres, fight at 886. 

Malancoart, ▼. Gravelotte 132, 187. 

BlalmaiBOD, sortie fight at 894. 

Manstein, GeDeral von, v. Vionville, 
Gravelotte, Metz, Loire Army. 

Mantes, reconnaissance to 290. 

Mantenfifel, Baron von, General, v. 
NoisseviUe, Northern army, South- 
em army* 

Marat, fight at 887. 

Marine Infantry 189. 

Marsal, fortress 90. 

Mars-la-Tonr, v. Vionville. 

Meanx, head-quarters of the King 283. 

Mecklenburg-Schwerin , Grand Duke 
of 330, V. Tonl, Soissons, Loire Ar- 
my. — William, Duke of, v. Vion- 
ville, Laon, Paris. 

Mercy le Haut, v. Noisseville 217. 

Mesly, sortie fight at 304. 

Metz, army of 81, fortress 141, Battles 
of, V. Courcelles, Vionville, Grave- 
lotte, Investment of 196—224, 
Capitulation of 296. 

Meudon, heights of 261 , sortie fight 

Meung, fight at 341. 

Meuse army, or IV. army, Formation 
of 143, Sedan, Paris. 

M^zi^res 162, 248. 

M^ieres, fight at (Northern army) 

Mobilization of the army of the North 
German Confederation 15. 

Moltke, General, von, interview with 
Napoleon 174. 

Montauban, Cousin, v. Palikao. 

Mont Avron 300. 

Montbeliard, fight at, v. Belfort 390. 

MonWddy, fortress 246, 288, 152. 

Montmesly, sortie fight at 304. 

Montoire, fight at 344. 

Montoy, v. Noisseville 211. 

Montretout, sortie against 317. En- 
trenchment of 261. 

Mont Val€rien, battle of, v. sortie 
on 19th January 317. 

Moselle line, strategical importance 
of the 79, 91, 99. 

Motterouge, General de la, advance 
from Orleans 323. 

Moulin de la Tour 287. 
Monzon 157. 

Nancy 90. 
Napoleon III. emperor, resigns the 

command to Bazaine 92. His own 

reasons for the failure of his plans 

17, V. Metz, Sedan. 
Nen-Breisach and Fort Mortier 240. 
Neuville St. Amand, v. St. Quentin 

Nied, river 90. 
Nogcnt-le-Rotron 382. 
Noisseville, battle of*204. 
Noisy-le-Grand , sortie fight at 302, 

Northern army, operations of the 351. 
Nouart, fight at 154. 
Nuits, fight at 378. 


Oignon, fight on the 371. 

Order of battle, of the French army 

22; of the German army 32; 

of the French 12th Corps 146; 

of the army of Paris 278. 
Organizations, Gambetta's 327. 
Org^res, fight at 338. 
Orleans, strategical importance 324. 

Occupation by General v. d. Tann 

325. Evacuation of 326. Battle 

of 337. 
Ormes, fight at 326. 


Pacy, fight at 290. 

Palikao, count, plan for the relief 

of Metz 147. His relations with 

Trochu 268. 
Pange, fight at, v. Courcelles battle 

of 93. 
Parign^ I'Evgque, v. Le Mans 347,349- 
Paris, importance of the city 186, 

257, 269. Fortifications of 259. 

Army of 263, 278. Equipment 

of 276. Provisioning of 274. 

Siege of 257 — 321. Investment 

of 284. 
Patay, fight at 338. 
Peace 409. 
Perches, Hautes and Basses, OuterforU 

of Belfort 400. 
P€ronne , fortress , conquest of 255. 

Importance for the Northern arm/ 



Petit-Bicestre, sortie fight at 287. 

Petit-Magny, fight at 381. 

Pfalzharg, fortress 86. Investment of 
242. Conquest of 244. 

Plessis-Piqnet, sortie fight at 287. 

Pont-k-Monsson , importance of this 
point for the Moselle-line and for- 
tress of Metz 90, 100. 

Pontarlier, fight at 899. 

Pont Noyelles, v. Hallae 359. 

Poailly, passage across the Meuse 
at 168. 

Ponpry, fight at 838. 

Prisoners of war, French, their num- 
ber at the end of 1870 312, at the 
end of the war 409. 


Qnesnel, fight at 353. 


Rambervillers, fight at 370. 

Raon r£tape, fight at 369. 

Regiments de Marche 188. 

Reille , Napoleon's adjutant-general 

Beneve, fight at 373. 

Republican government of the 4th 
of September 1870. Its charac- 
teristics. 182. 

Rethel, Mac Mahon's head-quarters 
24th of August 150. 

Rezonville, battle of, v. Gravelotte 

Rheims , Mac Mahon's head-quarters 
21th of August 1870 149. Head- 
quarters of the King of Prussia 
5th Sept. 283. 

Rheinbaben's cavalry division, v. Saar- 
briicken, Vionville. 

Rheinheim, skirmish at 50. 

Robert le Diable, storming of the 
castle 362. 

Rocroy, conquest of the fortress 249. 

Ronconrt, v. Gravelotte, battle of 
132, 134, 137. 

Rouen , march of General von Man- 
teuifel upon 356. 

Rougemont, fight at 381. 

Rozerienlles, v. Gravelotte 139. 


Saarbriicken, attack upon, by Fros- 
sard's corps on the 2nd of August 

50. Engagement at 71. The 

smaller fights in July 49. 
Saxony, Crown Prince Albert of, ▼. 

Gravelotte, Sedan, Paris. 
Saxons (XII. Army Corps), v. Grave- 
lotte, Sedan, Paris. 
Sapignies, combat at, v. Bapaume362. 
Sceaux, sortie fight at 286. 
Schlettstadt, conquest of the fortress 

Schmeling, reserve division, v. Viller- 

sexel 387 and Belfort 388. 
Schrecklingen 50. 

Schwartzkoppen, General von, v. Vion- 
ville 109. 
Schweyen, skirmishes at 50. 
Sedan, battle of 165. Capitulation 

of, tenor 175. 
Seille, river, importance of 90, 219. 
Servigny, fight round , v. Noisseville 

SoisSons, conquest of the fortress 251. 
Sombacourt, fight at 398. 
Souchez, V. Hallue 361. 
Southern army, German, v. Man- 

teuffel's arrival 393. 
South-eastern army , operations of 

Speichern , storming of the heights 

St. Ail, village of, v. Gravelotte 133. 
St. Calais, v. Le Mans, advance 

upon 347. 
St. C^lerie, fight at, v. Le Mans, 

battle of 349. 
St. Cloud, destruction of the ch&tean 

of 294. 
St. Corneille, fight at, v. Le Mans, 

battle of 349. 
St. Denis, bombardment of 319. 
St. Hilaire, fight at 291. 
St. Humbert, v. Gravelotte 130. 
Ste. Marie aux Chines, combat round, 

V. Gravelotte, battle of 134. 
St. M€ndhoi^d, march of the III. 

army by 151. . 

St. Privat la Montague, combat round, 
v. Gravelotte, baUle of 133— -138. 

St. Quentin, battle of 364. 

'St. Seine FEglise, fight at 373. 

Stains, sortie fight at 309. 

Steinmetz, General von, v. Saar- 
briicken, Courcelles, Gravelotte. 

Stoifel, Colonel, commandant of Mont 
Avron 311. 


Stonne, head-quarters of Mac Mahon 

Strasbnrg, strategical importance of 

the fortress 79. Forti6cations of 

87. Siege of 226. Opinions 

on bombardment of 228. Capita- 

lation of 286. 
Stiilpnagel, General Yon, v. Vionnlle, 

battle of. 
Switserland, entry of the French into 



Tann, General von der, sent to Or- 
igins 291. Occapation of Orl^ns 
bj 826. 

Thennes 353. 

Thiais, sortie fight at 289. 

Thiers, negotiations with 297. 

ThionviUe, conquest of the fortress 
of 244. 

Toul, importance of, and conqnest 
of 250. 

Tours, the government delegation 
leave the town 842. The 19th Divi- 
sion reaches Tours 344. General 
von Hartmann occupies Tours 861. 

Toury 291, 332. 

Tresckow's Land wehr Division , invest- 
ment of Belfort 381. 

Trochu, General, as Commander in 
Chief and governor of Paris 266. 

Tiimpling, General von, v. Sedan, 


Uhrich, (General, commandant of 
Strasbnrg, 87, /. Siege of Stras- 


Vaucouleurs, head - quarters of the 
Crown Prince 21st— 28rd of Au- 
gust 1870 144. 

Vanx, V. Gravelotte 129, 189. 

Vaux, fight at (south-extern army) 

Venddme, march of Prince Frederick 
Charles upon 342. Engagement at, 
V. Loir, Combats on the 342. 

Verdun, in reference to Bazaine's 
army 97, 118. Attack of the IV. 
army upon 144. Conquest of 253. 

Verneville, v. Gravelotte 129. 

Versailles, bead-qvariers of die King 

during the siege of Paria 292. 

Convention of 401. 
Vesoul, head-qaarters of Greneral von 

Werder, 20th and 21st of October 

1870, 370. Concentratioii of the 

XIV. Army Corps near 386. 
Vierzon, General d'AureUe's position 

at 326. Pursuit of the French 

Loire Army to 341. 
Villa-Coablay, siege park of Paris at 

Villars, v. Nuits 879. 
Villejuif, sortie fights at 287, 289. 
Villeneuve-St.-6eorges , passage of 

the V. Army Corps across the Seine 

at 286. 
Villers-Bretonneux, fight at, v. Amiens 

Villersezel, fight at 387. 
Villiers, sortie fights at 302, 307. 
Vinoy, General, v. Paris 283, 317. 
Vionville , battle of (Mars la Toor) 

Vitry le Fran^ais, occupied by the 

m. Army 161. 
Volklingen, skirmish at 60. 
Vosges, strategical importance 'of the 

67, 79, 368. Conflicts in the 368. 
Voigts-RhetK, General von, v. Vion- 
ville, Loire army 336. 
Voncq, conquest of the village by 

dismounted hussars 164. 


Wedell's brigade, v. Vionville 109. 
Wehrden, skirmish at 49. 
Weissenburg, fight at 64—67. 
Werder, General von, v. Strasburg 

and South-eastern army. 
Wimpffen, General, v. Sedan, battle 

of 168, 174. 
Woerth, battle of 68— 71. 
Wurtemberg, Prince Augustus of, ▼ 

Gravelotte 136, Sedan, Paris. 
Wurtembergers , v. Woerth, Sedan, 

Paris, Combats round Brie , Cbam- 

pigny and Villiers 302—308. 


Zastrow, General von, v. Saarbrucken, 

Printed by Otto Wigand, Leipilg.